Dr Sandile Williams, the Director of University Policy and Development Support, said this when his department made a presentation at a joint meeting between Parliament’s oversight committees on Higher Education and Training as well as the Science and Technology committee on Thursday.
The two committees were hosting a delegation from the Norwegian Portfolio Committee on Higher Education in Parliament and briefing them on post-school opportunities in SA.
“What the department is doing is ensuring that we are expanding our TVET colleges and we are in a process of building 12 new TVET colleges and ensuring as well that we are helping community colleges … to make sure that most of these [young people] that are not in employment or training are absorbed into the system.
“Even within government, there are some strategies regarding employment whereby they are trying to absorb as many people as possible,” Williams said.
The department’s Deputy Director-General for Planning and Monitoring, Firoz Patel, told the delegation that three in 10 young people in South Africa are “not in employment, education or training”.
He said that these young people were in the age group of between 15 and 24, and that most of them are seen on the streets without work.
The Deputy Director-General said currently, there are 50 TVET colleges in South Africa with over 264 campuses.
There are nine Community Education and Training Colleges with over 3 150 centres. The enrolment at TVET colleges is 750 000, while Community Colleges have 300 000 registered students.
Williams said to broaden access and improve the quality of education, there were institutions like the Council on Higher Education, which is responsible for ensuring that every programme within the country’s institutions actually matches the best international standards.
“In terms of broadening access, we ensure that as much as there is a limited space within our universities, we do allow some universities like the University of South Africa to enrol a large number of students in terms of distance learning.
“As a result, even though our sector has a million students, we make sure that at least 40% of those have access through distance education because some of them do not have time to go to university because they are working,” he said.