12 November 2012

South Africa: Fet Colleges' Turnaround Strategy Bearing Fruit

Pretoria — Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande will on Wednesday give an outline of the progress made to turnaround FET Colleges.

Financial assistance to poor students in Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges through the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has increased four-fold from R318-million in 2010 to R1.7-billion in 2012.

In August, Minister Nzimande, signed agreements with all FET College principals for the allocation of R2.5 billion from the National Skills Fund (NSF) for the expansion and capacity building of FET colleges; while in April President Jacob Zuma announced a R2.5 billion allocation towards the refurbishment and construction of new FET campuses over the next three years.

"These are some of the key interventions government has made to ensure that FET Colleges are strengthened, the quality of teaching improved, adequate facilities and equipment is available and student support services are augmented.

"Alongside these investments, FET College enrolments have meanwhile increased from a headcount enrolment of about 327 000 to about 550 000 in the last three years," the Department of Higher Education and Training said in a statement.

Through a partnership with the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants, the DHET has already started a process of ensuring that all FET colleges have Chartered Accountants as Chief Financial Officers to improve financial management, good corporate governance and accountability.

While a lot more achievements have been notched up in the process of turning around FET Colleges, there is still more that is in the planning while some challenges still remain to be overcome in pursuing the goal of turning these colleges into institutions of choice in South Africa.

"By 2030, the DHET expects to increase enrolments in all non-university, post-school institutions to 4 million, and these will include colleges owned by other government departments such as nursing, agricultural, police and other colleges," the department said.

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