Fee Free Education Meeting

January 2018

Deputy Minister Addresses TVET College Principals On Fee-free Education

In January, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Honourable Buti Manamela, and TVET College Principals, converged on Ekurhuleni West TVET College. 

The meeting was attended by TVET College Principals, their Chief Financial Officers, NSFAS and Higher Education and Training Department Officials. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss, among other things, the implications of fee-free education, the NSFAS bursary scheme, and the state of readiness regarding the 2018 Academic Year registrations.

Deputy Director-General for the Department of Higher Education and Training, Mr Firoz Patel, welcomed the Principals and CFOs. He informed them of the implications of the former Presidentís announcement. Mr Patel intimated that fee-free education would be phased-in over a period of five years. The purpose is to support poor students and enable them to gain access to Higher Education institutions. The move targets students from South African households with a combined annual income of up to R350 000. It is directed at students who meet the admission requirements of TVET Colleges as well as the criteria to qualify for the financial assistance. He indicated that applicants with firm offers of admission from colleges would be assessed for funding using the revised criteria. Those who did not apply to the NSFAS for funding also needed to be assisted. This is a reference to 'walk-in' registrations at Colleges.

A South African College Principals Organisation (SACPO) meeting was also convened on the occasion.

The Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Honourable Buti Manamela, took the opportunity to address the gathering while conducting a national whistle-stop tour. The tour was focussed on assessing the state of readiness of the institutions of Higher Education and Training for the 2018 Academic Year. In his address, Deputy Minister Manamela indicated that he was assessing the state of readiness of institutions to give effect to the announcement of the former President. He was also assessing the implications for colleges. It was his view that the announcement would have greater implications for colleges than for universities. This was particularly so, since the TVET sector had become more attractive to many young people.

They have concluded that, because of the demand for skills in South Africa, and the fact that skills form the backbone of the economy, studying at a TVET College would be a gateway to a better future. Concluding his address, the Deputy Minister said, " am passionate about the sector. I am a product of the same sector. I have contributed extensively to the policy trajectory and legislation, to assist in shaping what the sector has become."

The Deputy Minister was a student at the former Mamelodi College, now known as Tshwane North TVET College. This was when it was under the Principalship of Ms Hellen M Ntlatleng, current Principal of Ekurhuleni West TVET College.  

He urged TVET College officials to work harder in ensuring that Colleges meet the needs and aspirations of the youth. SACPO President and Ekurhuleni West TVET College Principal, Ms Hellen Ntlatleng, pledged support and co-operation to the Ministry and the Department on behalf of College Principals.  

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