Mas­sive boost for stu­dent fund

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - BENIDA PHILLIPS STAFF RE­PORTER

THE NA­TIONAL Stu­dent Fund (NSF) al­lo­ca­tion to the North­ern Cape in­creased by 45% from R14 mil­lion in the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year to R26 mil­lion in the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year, while the to­tal num­ber of stu­dents in the prov­ince ben­e­fit­ting from the fund has in­creased by 33%.

This is ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing, Blade Nz­i­mande, who yes­ter­day, dur­ing a visit to Kim­ber­ley, en­cour­aged stu­dents and Grade 12 pupils in the Frances Baard District to work hard and take own­er­ship of their fu­ture.

Nz­i­mande was ad­dress­ing hun­dreds of learn­ers dur­ing the Nel­son Man­dela Ca­reer De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme which took place at the 3SAI mil­i­tary base in Kim­ber­ley yes­ter­day.

Pupils from var­i­ous high schools in and around the city par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gramme and were ex­posed to sev­eral ca­reer op­tions.

Ca­reer con­stituen­cies rang­ing from the South African De­fence Force (SANDF) to the South African Navy had ex­hi­bi­tions where they ed­u­cated pupils on the avail­able careers.

Nz­i­mande said that these ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties were just a click away. “If you know your sub­jects and your in­ter­ests, then you have to de­ter­mine what oc­cu­pa­tion you want en­ter into. There are 1 437 oc­cu­pa­tions to­day in South Africa to choose from.

“You have a wide choice and have to make an in­formed de­ci­sion on what you want to be­come. If you do not know what you want to be­come, then visit our Na­tional Ca­reer Ad­vice Por­tal (NCAP) and com­plete the in­ter­est ques­tion­naire to see what your in­ter­ests are.”

Pupils who at­tended the pro­gramme re­ceived sev­eral in­for­ma­tion re­sources, in­clud­ing a Khetha Busi­ness Card, with the ad­dress of the Na­tional Ca­reer Ad­vice Por­tal.

Nz­i­mande pointed out that ed­u­ca­tion played a vi­tal part in the elim­i­na­tion of poverty and un­em­ploy­ment.

“The stark re­al­ity of the North­ern Cape, as re­flected in the Com­mu­nity Sur­vey 2016, is that young peo­ple are un­em­ployed. At the time of this sur­vey, youth un­em­ploy­ment in the Prov­ince was at 37%. Clearly ed­u­ca­tion is a cat­a­lyst for chang­ing the lives of par­tic­u­larly the work­ing class ma­jor­ity of the coun­try.”

Nz­i­mande also en­cour­aged pupils to look for op­por­tu­ni­ties in the prov­ince of their birth.

“In the North­ern Cape you have ac­cess to some of the world’s most ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ments, such as the Square Kilo­me­tre Ar­ray and the so­lar plant out­side Uping­ton just to name two. These de­vel­op­ments need man­agers, pro­fes­sion­als, spe­cial­ists and tech­ni­cians to fur­ther de­velop and main­tain it.

“The need for ar­ti­sans can­not be over em­pha­sised. At present the coun­try is pro­duc­ing on av­er­age 13 000 qual­i­fied ar­ti­sans per year which is less than half of the 30 000 ar­ti­sans that the coun­try should pro­duce per year by 2030,” he said.

He also urged learn­ers not to let fi­nan­cial woes de­ter them.

“The De­part­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing has been sup­port­ing thou­sands of stu­dents through the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The bur­sary al­lo­ca­tion has in­creased from R312 mil­lion in 2009 to R2,438 bil­lion in 2017 for col­leges.

“The de­part­ment has, since its in­cep­tion in 2009, spent more than R15,2 bil­lion which ben­e­fited be­tween 1.5 to two mil­lion stu­dents in our in­sti­tu­tions.”

He urged lean­ers to “add a feather in their cap”. “Ap­ply now . . . there is not much time left. It is your re­spon­si­bil­ity to be on the look­out for ap­pli­ca­tion dates at var­i­ous in­sti­tu­tions. Our coun­try needs peo­ple that can take re­spon­si­bil­ity for their lives,” he said.

A CHANCE TO LEARN: Pupils were ex­posed to var­i­ous ca­reer paths at the expo yes­ter­day. Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion, Blade Nz­i­mande was the key note speaker.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.