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South Africa: Drive to Improve FET Colleges in Full Gear
Source: http://www.skillsportal.co.za/page/education/fet-colleges/1463734-Drive-to-improve-FET-colleges-in-full-gear
Source Date: Friday, November 16, 2012
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 16, 2012

During a media briefing Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande identified three elements that needed to change in order to redefine perceptions, namely “quality, articulation and working together”.
To address the challenge of quality, teaching and learning were labelled as one of the focus areas in the departments’ turnaround strategy.
The minister confessed that in some instances lecturers in FET colleges were former artisans or trades people with no formal teacher training.
He alluded to improving lecturer qualifications by “introducing a dedicated programme to train lecturers”. This he believed to be essential to advancing the quality of FET colleges.
“While funding will remain a key priority for the department, it will also be tied to outputs…to ensure that quality and effective teaching and learning takes place without compromise as the sector expands”.
State funding reportedly increased from R3, 8 billion in 2010 to R4, 8 billion in 2012.
He highlighted the community college system in the USA as an example of successful articulation and said that the department would be drawing on the USA, Swiss and German higher education models amongst others to determine the best way forward.
He stressed the importance of industry stakeholders working together to create and identify employment opportunities for graduates.
“In sectors where there are close links between colleges and employers there is an increase in employability”.
Good pass rates along with a high degree of graduate employability were believed to be two major draw cards for potential students.
Other focus areas within the turnaround strategy included institutional management and government; administration, curriculum delivery; improving quality of teaching staff and system, student support services, infrastructure and stakeholder management.
Sharing his vision on what the ‘ideal FET college’ should encompass, he described it as an institution that “operates 14 hours a day, seven days a week”.
Offering students, particularly working people, the opportunity to attend classes over the weekend was identified as a critical element of making education accessible and developing a skilled workforce.
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