Vig­i­lance re­quired for ter­tiary spend

The New Age (Gauteng) - - COMMENT -

HIGHER Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Dr Blade Nz­i­mande, an­nounced R7bn in in­vest­ments this week that will be spent in the next two years on up­grad­ing in­fra­struc­ture in the ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

New uni­ver­si­ties are planned, along with new stu­dent hous­ing, lab­o­ra­to­ries, other es­sen­tial fa­cil­i­ties and the main­te­nance of ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

This is ob­vi­ously good news for the con­struc­tion and as­so­ci­ated in­dus­tries, as well as for the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

The pro­gramme also dove­tails well with the long­an­tic­i­pated kick­off of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan, which has job cre­ation and in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing at its core. It is self-ev­i­dent that the coun­try needs jobs ur­gently and con­struc­tion is one of the best ways to get thou­sands of peo­ple work­ing at many lev­els of ex­per­tise.

The fact that the money is be­ing spent around the coun­try will also in­ject some cap­i­tal into our poorer prov­inces.

Our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem leaves a lot to be de­sired in terms of pro­duc­ing the skills needed for a coun­try to thrive in these com­plex times.

Read­ing, writ­ing and arith­metic are no longer good enough for to­mor­row’s work­ers. What is needed more and more are spe­cialised skills, es­pe­cially in the sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics sub­jects.

Let’s hope the R7bn re­sults in a crop of grad­u­ates with the smarts nec­es­sary to get our econ­omy mov­ing again.

Bricks and mor­tar and state-of-the-art lab­o­ra­to­ries are all very well but we need the cal­i­bre of teach­ers and pro­grammes that can pro­duce the best stu­dents.

We must not for­get this as we set out to spend R7bn of tax­pay­ers money.

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

OVER­VIEW: The gi­gan­tic head of the le­gendary eth­nic Miao god­dess Yang’asha, (the God­dess of Beauty), be­ing fit­ted to its shrine in Guizhou prov­ince, China.

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