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Speech by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Buti Manamela, on the Department of Higher Education and Training Budget Vote 2018/19 National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Parliament of South Africa

29 May 2018

Honourable Chairperson

Members of the NCOP

Heads and Executives of all our Post-School Institutions and Entities

The DHET Budget attests to the significant investments that government is making in higher education and training. More students are taking up post school training options as a result of mobilising young people to make education fashionable. Our policy of fee free higher education for the poor and working class will change individual lives, families and communities. It will have a dramatic impact on our future.

We must reap the rewards of our investments and to do this we must ensure that our students are healthy and lead healthy lifestyles. The Higher Education AIDS programme runs across all 400 university and public TVET college campus sites.

Through the provision of free mobile health and wellness screening, the First Things First programme has seen a significant increase of students who tested early for HIV, TB and STIs within the sector.

Over 203 000 students took up HIV/TB/STI and other general health and wellness services, last year. Using a peer to peer model, HEAIDS mobilised over 600 000 student advocates for its health, well-being and healthy lifestyles interventions.

Our budget allocates significant resources to a very critical part of our post school education and training system - our Technical and Vocation Education and Training Colleges. TVET colleges are at the forefront of providing education and training options for our youth.

The bursary allocation for TVET Colleges has increased from R2.437 billion in 2017 to R5.164 billion in 2018 representing a 112% allocation increase. The additional funding will take the programme funding level of TVET colleges from the current 54% to 69% in 2018/19 with the target of 80% being reached in approximately four years.

For 2018/19, an additional R2.5 billion will be made available for student fees including travel and accommodation allowances.

This additional funding will ensure that qualifying TVET students will be fully subsidised for student fees and travel or accommodation where relevant. Considerable investment is being made for the expansion of the TVET sector.

As we significantly invest in the TVET sector, we are also working towards better quality TVET programmes and strengthening college performance.

We want to see more stable, functional, better governed TVET colleges that offer high quality programmes.

Relevant, high quality programmes that meet industry standards is the aim of our Colleges of Specialisation Project as we address the demand for priority trades. We need these priority trades for the implementation of government's National Development Plan in general and its National Infrastructure Plan in particular.

Colleges of Specialisation contribute towards building capacity of the public TVET College system to deliver trade qualifications with employer partners. Following a period of intensive research, we have established thirteen trades that are particularly in short supply.

By the end of June 2018 the curricula for each trade will be updated to industry standards, a process which industry partners have led. The transformation of the curricula is imperative for greater alignment with industry needs.

The low certification rates of TVET students are a concern. With the significant investment that government is making, we must ensure that certification rates improve. In addressing this challenge the department has already seen some success and will endeavour to meet the MTSF target of 65% certification rate for NCV Level 4 as well as N3 and N6 qualifications.

We have responded to the certification backlogs and over the years the department has steadily addressed the problem. While this challenge has largely been resolved, we still receive queries. We will attend to and satisfactorily address all outstanding and unresolved certification issues.

As the TVET system expands, we are aware of the governance challenges faced by many TVET colleges. The department is developing a Framework for Good Governance and will conduct an initial assessment of all TVET colleges against this framework. Further training, capacity building and monitoring will take place to improve governance. Good management and governance will ensure that scarce resources are used optimally.

TVET colleges are community resources and their success is our success. We have heard your pleas for a better TVET college system and having fixed some of the problems, we will continue to strengthen the system.

Parents and youth are encouraged to strongly consider taking up their education at our 50 public TVET colleges. TVET colleges are our future.

Honourable Chairperson, I join the Minister in presenting the 2018/19 Budget Vote of the Department of Higher Education and Training.

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