Nzimande announces major expansion plan for FETs

2014-07-23 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Tertiary education in technical and further education and training colleges (FET) will be much expanded.

Construction of a dozen new campuses in under-serviced rural areas is ready to begin.

In his department’s budget speech yesterday, Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande said these FET colleges were a top priority.

An amount of R2,5 billion has been budgeted to restore two existing colleges and build 12 new campuses.

Nzimande said the turnaround strategies at the two existing colleges, which used to be teacher training colleges, are bearing fruit and the quality of training has improved.

Student numbers have more than doubled in the past four years.

All heads and deputy heads of the FET colleges have been transferred from the provincial departments to Higher Education and councils have been appointed at each college. Contracts to transfer lecturers and support staff to the national government have also been finalised with the relevant authorities.

The qualifications offered by the FET colleges will also be reviewed and a foundation programme is being developed for students who must improve their maths and science marks at higher certificate level before they can enrol for ­specific courses.

FET students can now also qualify for bursaries from the National Students ­Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Nzimande said university admissions will increase to 1,1 million students in 2019, from 953 373 in 2012.

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