Pretoria – Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana has called on parents and guardians to talk to their children and encourage them to go back to class and write their exams for the 2016 academic year.
“Failure to do this will have a ripple effect for years to come,” Deputy Minister Manana warned.
The Deputy Minister made the call during the launch of his first Education Sunday Career Guidance campaign held at Rock of Ages International Church, in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga.
The campaign aims to promote post-school opportunities to youth in organized sectors, targeting high school learners and young people categorized as not in employment, education nor training (NEET).
The Deputy Minister used the occasion, which was attended by over 1000 youth from host churches and other churches from nearby communities, including parents, to give a background on the #FeesMustFall phenomenon.
Students have been protesting over the 2017 fee increment which was announced by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande recently. He announced that universities would decide on their increases individually but that the fees should not increase by more than 8%.
Minister Nzimande said for the 2017 academic year, government has ensured poor students who receive assistance from NSFAS and the “missing middle” do not pay any fee increase.
“Students from families with a family annual income of up to R600 000 will not pay any fee increase. Government has further recommended to universities that the fee increases should not exceed 8%.”
The subsidy is estimated to benefit almost 70% of all undergraduate students in universities and colleges.
The Deputy Minister also encouraged learners to consider Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges as an alternative to university education.
“We need more of you to be channelled to colleges than universities because the skills needs of the country necessitate a massive production of artisans within the college system. However, this is not in anyway suggesting that university education is less important,” Deputy Minister Manana told learners.
He noted that days of undermining TVET colleges are over as government has now rebranded them to be institutions of choice.
“Mpumalanga province is endowed with big projects like Kusile Power Station, these employers need artisans that are produced by TVET Colleges. Ninety two percent of students in our public TVET colleges are studying for free,” he said.
The Deputy Minister further promoted the “100 Occupations in high demand” list that was released in 2014 by Minister Nzimande.
A chart with a list of occupations in high demand was presented to the church to assist youth when they need to choose subjects in lower grades, while in high schools, as well as learners that will further their studies in post-school system.
“The chart will assist learners to make informed career choices to avoid a situation, where they too join a cohort of unemployed and unemployable graduates, which is a phenomenon as a result of a mismatch between skills supply and demand.”