Response: Two FET colleges for Nkandla

2013-08-18 10:00

As I read City Press on August 11, I nearly fell off my chair when I learnt that the subject of Further Education and Training (FET) colleges had been deliberately twisted.

In the article, “Two FET colleges set for Nkandla”, an impression was given that President Jacob Zuma’s hometown, Nkandla, had been given special treatment as two FET colleges were to be built in the area.

This is simply untrue.

From this year, we are starting with the first phase of building FET college campuses as part of expanding vocational education and training opportunities for our youth and adults.

We will be building, for the first time in 30 years, 12 FET college campuses from which 18?000 students will benefit.

In addition, we will also be building three skills centres and comprehensively refurbishing buildings at two other FET college campuses.

Priority during the first phase is on the poorest rural areas.

This first phase will roll out in four provinces – KwaZulu Natal (five campuses), Eastern Cape (four campuses), Limpopo (two campuses) and Mpumalanga (one campus).

There is a difference between FET colleges and skills development centres.

FET colleges are funded on the basis of programmes they offer, whereas skills development centres are often smaller and cater for the delivery of skills through learnerships and are usually funded by Sector Education and Training Authorities.

Nkandla is but one part of a massive R5?billion we will be investing over the next three years in our FET sector.

Some journalists portray Nkandla as a small village to create the impression that the town starts just in front of President Zuma’s gate and ends on the other side of his homestead.

The rural town of Nkandla is located about 55km from Melmoth and 60km from Eshowe.

It covers an area of approximately 1?827km² and has a population of 114?416. It is untrue that the department is building two colleges in Nkandla.

Instead, we are building one FET college in town and a skills development centre at Nkungamathe, north of Nkandla, 37km from President Zuma’s home.

Nkandla, as well as any other areas deliberately underdeveloped during apartheid, deserves an FET college and more.

The people of Nkandla must not suffer because they produced a president.

 Nzimande is the minister of higher education and training.

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