Minister of higher education, Dr. Blade Nzimande, has advised school learners around the Thabo Mofutsanyana District to use the opportunities made available by government in further education and training (FET) colleges to improve their chances of being absorbed in the labour market.
Nzimande, who joined premier Ace Magashule to celebrate Mandela Day in QwaQwa recently, said the enrolment of learners into FET colleges had risen tremendously since 2010 from 345 000 to 657 000 students registered in FET colleges to date. This represents a 90 percent increase in student enrolment during this period.
The minister said National Skill Financial Services (NSFS) has assisted 1.4 million students. In 2010, there were 148 000 students registered at tertiary institutions across the country costing the department R2.3-billion. The figure increased to 210 000 registered students in 2011.
Nzimande said the lack of career guidance was a huge challenge at schools which leads to students choosing the wrong courses at tertiary institutions and dropping out due frustration.
There are 50 FET colleges in South Africa, 23 campuses and satellite campuses in the Free State. The province is host to four FET Colleges.
Nzimande said the department was going to train lecturers who will be exposed to practical experiential in the industries whose courses they are teaching.
“We need to expose the learners to what is happening in the industry. This will enable a mechanical engineering teacher to teach learners about the cars that are on the road now rather than the cars that were on the road years ago,” said Nzimande.
The minister said that the department is going to employ chattered accountants as chief financial officers (CFOs) at FETs colleges to improve their financial management and curb corruption.
“Some of our CFO’s have received death threats and that is because they have attempted to close the taps on corruption. We have students out there who come to FET colleges, collect the transport money and then disappear for the duration of the term. This unfortunately prevents students who really want to study from receiving the opportunities afforded to them by government.”