400 000 opportunities for Class of 2013

10 January 2014

There is a “catalogue of opportunities” available to the Class of 2013 who wish to further their studies, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said at a press conference in Pretoria on Thursday.

Nzimande also announced that 12 new further education training (FET) colleges would be opened during the course of the year. Universities in Mpumalanga and in the Northern Cape were opened in 2013, and would be accepting students this year.

Nzimande said the increased National Senior Certificate (or matric) pass rate from 73.9% in 2012 to 78.2% in 2013 – its highest since 1994 – would result in a higher demand for spaces in the post-school education and training system.

“This significant increase in successful candidates with predominantly bachelor- and diploma-entrance National Senior Certificates will have implications for the department in relation to enrolments within higher education institutions,” the minister said.

Nzimande said there are about 396 449 opportunities available to young school leavers within the post-school education and training system at 25 universities, 50 FET colleges and 21 sector education and training authorities (SETAs).

Study opportunities included:

  • 197 946 new entrant opportunities in universities;
  • 23 000 engineering and business studies opportunities at FET colleges;
  • 44 000 National Certificate vocational programme opportunities at FET colleges;
  • 10 000 artisanal opportunities at FET colleges;
  • 93 000 occupationally directed apprenticeship and learnership opportunities in collaboration with FET colleges, Setas and employers;
  • 12 000 additional artisanal opportunities within the retail auto sector; and
  • 16 503 leanerships through Setas.

The newly opened Sol Plaatjie University in the Northern Cape and the Mpumalanga University would start operating this year, the minister said.

Challenges

Nzimande conceded that space was still a challenge, and said that the government would focus on expanding the FET sector, as was required by the National Development Plan – the country’s framework for the economy to prosper by 2030.

“As part of government’s commitment to expanding the post-school education and training opportunities, the department is building 12 new FET campuses, which in 2014 will be able to further accommodate an additional 6 500 new students.

“The National Development Plan requires that by 2030 at least 30 000 qualified artisans are produced per year,” he said.

Financial assistance

Nzimande said R8.3-billion had been set aside for students wishing to further their studies and who needed financial assistance.

“The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be funding 205 000 students at universities and 215 000 students at FET colleges in 2014 by providing student loans and bursaries totalling over R8.3-billion,” Nzimande said.

“In addition to the funds that the NSFAS received from the voted funds, the National Skills Fund makes further annual allocations [R497-million for 2014] aimed at funding the full cost of study towards critical skills programmes, most needed for the growth of the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nzimande said his department would soon release a white paper that would cover the issue of affordability of universities and FET colleges.

Clearing house system

The department would again operate its central application clearing house (CACH) system this year, which went live this week.

“The CACH service is for learners who qualify for higher education studies but have not been accepted at an institution of their choice at the time the matric results were released,” Nzimande said.

The system was also meant for pupils who did not apply at institutions before the closing dates last year.

“The CACH service will verify the learner’s information and forward it to institutions that still have unfilled places. Where places exist and applicants meet the requirements, institutions will contact students to offer them available places.”

Students register on the system via:

  • Call centre 0860-356-635
  • Send an SMS with your names and ID number to 49200.
  • the website: cach.dhet.gov.za.

Source: SAnews.gov