SA: More higher education opportunities for 2015

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande


Cape Town – Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande says there are 425 095 opportunities available to the matric class of 2014 in the country’s universities and training institutions.

Briefing the media on post-school education and the department’s 2015 plans on Monday, the Minister said this was an increase of 28 646 opportunities compared to the 396 449 post-school study spaces that were available in 2014.

He made this announcement a week after Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the 2014 National Senior Certificate examination results.

“Many of those who have met the entrance requirements for university study will be pursuing degrees, diplomas and higher certificates at one of 26 public universities. This includes the Sol Plaatje University and University of Mpumalanga, both of which are new universities entering their second year of operation, and the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), which was promulgated as a juristic person in May 2014 and will open its doors to its first student cohort in January 2015,” he said.

The Minister also said over and above the 26 opportunities in universities, students could also access opportunities in 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), which can help them to promote and fund occupational programmes linked to educational institutions and workplaces.

Giving a breakdown of the available opportunities, the Minister said this included:

–        Some 204 522 new entrant opportunities at universities;

–        44 000 Engineering and Business Studies opportunities at TVET colleges;

–        37 000 National Certificate Vocational programme opportunities at TVET colleges;

–        About 85 900 occupationally-directed (apprenticeship or learnership) opportunities in collaboration with TVET colleges, SETAs and employers;

–        Artisan opportunities totalling to 16 250; and

–        An additional 37 423 learning programme opportunities in the form of 3 380 apprenticeships, 4 513 bursaries and 29 530 learnerships will be further provided by SETAs.

Minister Nzimande also said there were 150 752 opportunities for learners qualifying for admission to Bachelor Studies at higher education institutions and 166 689 opportunities for learners qualifying for admission to Diploma Studies at higher education institutions.

There are further 86 022 opportunities for learners qualifying for admission to Higher Certificate Studies, the Minister said.

“The national average annual increase in first-time entering students at higher education institutions from 2011 to 2015 is 4.5%, with first-time entering students making up approximately 25% of the total university student population.

“In 2015, our public universities will provide access to approximately 204 522 new entrants wishing to pursue their studies across all general, technical and professional fields including Business and Management; Science, Engineering, Agriculture and Technology; Humanities, Social Sciences, the Arts and Education,” he said.

Calls for students to embrace opportunities in colleges, training institutions

The Minister said matriculants who have obtained a minimum of a Higher Certificate achievement can consider studying further at a TVET college for a National Diploma, with 44 000 study opportunities available for both business and engineering studies.

The National Development Plan envisages that the country produces 30 000 qualified artisans per year, the Minister said.

“Thirty-seven thousand study opportunities are also available for individuals wishing to pursue a vocational programme which leads to a National Certificate Vocational qualification.

“In South Africa there is a growing trend of matriculants utilising learnership or apprenticeship opportunities to become artisans in the Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Manufacturing or Support Services career fields,” he said.

Minister Nzimande also said that the post-school education and training sector has, through the SETAs and National Skills Fund, committed over R1.7 billion in the 2015/16 financial year to opportunities in these artisan fields that will result in grants for over 16 250 artisan learners.