Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Minister of Higher Education Budget Speech - Summary & Highlights

The Minister gave his annual Budget Speech on 8 May 2013. You can read the speech in full here. Below is a summary and some selected highlights.

Summary

The speech shows the momentum that DHET is gaining in its chosen focus of building the FET and Higher Education systems to give greater access to the poor and to move towards more effective relationship with the country's economic needs. This is a massive task and will probably only bear fruit in 10 - 20 years time at the earliest. Perhaps this is why the Minister mentions 2013 as the 60th anniversary of the Bantu Education Act, and points out that the democratic government has had only 19 years opportunity at reversing the damage of these and other apartheid laws. Given that the majority of this country still live in unacceptable poverty with little hope of improving their lives, and nothing to lose through crime, revolution or anarchy, it is a focus that everyone should support. Employers and industry should still stand up for the importance of workplace training as the DHET is not focusing on what are comparatively well-resourced constituencies at this point.

Upcoming changes

Look out for the upcoming changes mentioned in the budget speech:
  • The change in name of the public FET colleges to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges
  • A new funding framework for the TVET colleges and public adult learning centres that will draw from the Skills Development Levy income
  • A "Policy on the Professional Qualifications for Lecturers in Technical and Vocational Education and Training" will be gazetted next month
  • The establishment of new Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges, absorbing the present Public Adult Learning Centres and providing new offerings to adult learners
  • A new comprehensive university of health and allied sciences in Limpopo
  • A new funding model for the public universities
  • Expansion of the free education approach from the public TVET colleges to the public universities

Highlights

To simplify reading I have rounded off some figures below. View the full report at the link above if you want the precise numbers

General highlights
  • 2013 marks the 60th Anniversary of the Bantu Education Act which systematically broke down human capital of black South Africans
  • The DHET's budget this year is R34,3 bn, an increase of 8,6% on last year's budget
    • This excludes Skills Development Levy income which was was R11,4 bn last year and is expected to be R12,4 bn this year
  • A million youth leave school every year, looking for entry to the workforce or further study 

Workplace training
  • The DHET has now established a dedicated Unit on Work Integrated Learning Partnerships and Innovation
    • This is headed up by Chief Director Zukile Mvalo who can be contacted on 012 312-5208 or Mvalo.Z@dhet.gov.za
    • "The unit engages with employers in both the private and public sector as well as with SETAs in order to promote and institutionalise work integrated learning"
  • The new SETA Grant Regulations came into operation on 1 April 2013  - we will be covering the impact of these regulations in a later post on this bog
  • The National Skills Fund is now annually spending what it is receiving in funding (for the first time ever). All of the historic reserves of the Fund (R7 bn) have now been earmarked for spending
    • This expenditure is "for improving infrastructure and programmes for expanding capacity and improving quality in the production of skills in engineering, medical and veterinary sciences, renewable energy, various trades and rural development"

The public FET sector
  • The public FET Colleges are soon to be renamed "Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges"
    • 657,000 youth enrolled in TVET colleges in 2012
    • R17,4 bn set aside this year for the TVET colleges
    • 187,000 of these students financially supported by DHET via NSFAS
    • R2,5 bn set aside for infrastructure expansion and refurbishment of TVET colleges, broken down as follows - 
      • R2 bn for expansion of student enrolments
      • R365,5 mn for building institutional capacity
        • This is directed by the FET College Turnaround Strategy of 2012 which focused on building college capacity in management, governance and leadership, financial management, human resource management, teaching and learning, as well as student support services.
        • It includes a South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) project to appoint 48 Chartered Accountants as Chief Financial Officers at FET Colleges 
        • Another SAICA partnership is the appointment of 20 Human Resources Specialists to support clusters of colleges to set up Human Resource systems, procedures and policies
      • R192 mn for upgrading equipment
    • A ministerial committee will be established to look at the funding of the TVET colleges and public adult learning centres, from sources including the fiscus and the Skills Development Levy
    • FET College staff are now under the authority of DHET (not their provincial governments) since 1 April 2013
      • A Policy on the Professional Qualifications for Lecturers in Technical and Vocational Education and Training will be gazetted next month
    • Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges will be established and will absorb the present Public Adult Learning Centres
      • CET Colleges will have additional facilities and staff and expanded offerings to provide vocational or community oriented programmes to adult learners
      • For more info on the CET Colleges click here to view the report of a task team which made recommendations for the community colleges 

The university sector
  • In the university sector there was a 12% increase in undergrad enrollments, and 11% increase in graduates, a 26% increase in Masters graduates and a 15% increase in Doctoral graduates
    • The two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape will be legal entities by June and enrol first learners in 2014
    • A new comprehensive university of health and allied sciences, including veterinarian science and dentistry will be established in Limpopo,with Medunsa campus providing the foundation
    • DHET is looking at a fee-free approach to the university sector following its successful application of this approach in the TVET sector
    •  Review of Funding of Universities
      • This is in process and a new model will be presented by the end of this year
      • Universities that fund the poor can expect more funding
    • R575 mn allocated to teaching development grants to boost the number of graduates
    • R205 mn allocated to foundational programmes to improve the success rate of students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds 
    • R177 mn for research development to develop research capabilities of staff
    • R8 bn total investment in university infrastructure during the period up to 2015

Teacher education
  • Teacher education in all sectors (the pre-school, primary, secondary, FET and Universities) is a priority with an increase in teacher graduation shown below:
    • 2008 - 6,000 graduates
    • 2011 - 10,361 graduates
    • 2015 (projected) - 14,000 graduates
  • New teacher education colleges and campuses are being established

The National Students Financial Aid Scheme
  • NSFAS gets R5.7 bn
    • R3.69 bn for loans and bursaries to universities 
    • R1.98 bn for bursaries for TVET Colleges

Below is an embedded version of the speech in PDF format. Click the arrow in the square at the top right of the frame below to open the speech in a bigger window.