The Department of Higher Education and Training Department is to re-open three former teacher training colleges next year as South Africa pushes to produce more and better teachers, says Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.
Brand South Africa reporter
“We will open the former Ndebele College Campus in Mpumalanga for foundation phase teacher education in 2013, and we also plan to open one former teacher training college each in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape,” Nzimande said in presenting his department’s budget vote to Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“We have ring-fenced R450-million for the 2012/13 to 2013/14 funding cycle to expand university infrastructure capacity for teacher education, and this will continue in the next funding cycle.”
Increases in teacher candidates, graduates
Nzimande said there had been a 15 percent increase in full-time and equivalent enrolments in initial teacher education programmes, from 35 937 in 2009 to 41 292 in 2010.
“The number of new teachers that graduated increased from 6 976 in 2009 to 7 973 in 2010, an increase of just under 1 000, or 14 percent.”
The minister noted that particular attention was being paid to the development of Foundation Phase teachers, especially African language mother-tongue speakers.
Teacher, lecturer development
Meanwhile, an amount of R499-million has been allocated to the country’s universities for teaching development grants to help improve graduate outputs, and R194-million for foundation programmes to improve the success rates of students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds.
Nzimande said that, in the coming financial year, programmes would also be initiated to support the academic and professional development of lecturers in universities.
In addition, R177-million had been allocated to 15 of South Africa’s 23 universities, especially those institutions with low numbers of staff with masters and doctorate degrees, to develop the research capabilities of their staff.
An amount of R850-million has been earmarked for the period 2012/13 to 2013/14 for universities to build and refurbish their student residences, the bulk being allocated to historically black institutions.
The department has been engaging with the Public Investment Corporation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to secure more funding for student accommodation.
Over the next two years, R3.8-billion has been earmarked for universities’ overall infrastructure development, of which R1.6-billion has been set aside specifically for historically disadvantaged institutions.
Regarding progress on two new universities planned for Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape, Nzimande said he hoped to announce the seat of learning of each new institution in approximately three months, after full assessments and consultations had been completed.
“I remain committed that the first intake of these two new universities will be at the start of the academic year 2014.”
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