Question NW1229 to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

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24 May 2018 - NW1229

Profile picture: Bucwa, Ms H

Bucwa, Ms H to ask the Minister of Higher Education and Training

(1)What is the future of the National Certificate (Vocational) programmes, in view of the declining numbers of learners enrolling for these programmes; (2) (a) how and (b) by which range of entities will the education and training needs of learners who leave school without a National Senior Certificate be addressed in future; (3) what are the envisaged numbers of learners who would annually be supported financially by her department over the medium term in their efforts to study at levels 2, 3 and 4 at (a) public technical and vocational education and training colleges and (b) community education and training centres?


1. The declining enrolments in the National Certificates (Vocational) (NC(V)) programmes is indicative of the correction process in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college system. The qualification was not intended for matriculants. The target group was students who exited the basic education system but who needed to complete an equivalent of the National Senior Certificate (NSC). However, since the inception of the NC(V) in 2007, colleges enrolled learners who had already achieved an NQF level 4 qualification in the form of the NSC. Over the last two years, colleges have been advised by the Department to enrol only learners in the NC(V) who have not completed Grade 12. This position is based on the careful consideration of the utilisation of limited resources in the provision of learning opportunities for a wide range of young learners in the country, and will continue in future.

2. Learners without an NSC are able to enrol in the NC(V) in the TVET colleges, to complete the equivalent of the NSC qualification. This opportunity will be available in the foreseeable future.

Through Community Education and Training (CET) colleges, the National Senior Certificate for Adults (NASCA) has been developed to address the needs of out-of-school youth and adults who do not have an NSC. Funding is not yet available to implement the NASCA. The CET colleges through their Community Learning Centres are the entities for provision to out-of-school youth and adults.

Sector Education and Training Authorities fund various learning programmes such as skills programmes, learnerships, apprenticeships and other training programmes conducted in skills centres that cater for everyone including those who leave school without an NSC.

3. (a) TVET colleges currently offer the NC(V) qualifications at NQF levels 2 - 4, and the N1 - N3 Report 191 programmes at the same levels. The Report 191 programmes, also commonly referred to as the NATED programmes, do not constitute a qualification unless the two languages of Business English and Sake Afrikaans are also passed. The addition of these two languages culminates in the achievement of an NSC, but it is a different qualification from the NSC offered in Basic Education. The NSC in TVET colleges, which has its origins in the former Technical Colleges, did not allow students to directly access higher education programmes, and was loosely considered as a pass on the “standard” grade, in accordance with the higher, standard and lower grade passes applied at the senior secondary level at the time. Student numbers in the TVET NSC have dwindled, since the Department of Basic Education no longer allows for the combination of the N1 - N3 subjects with the current NSC subjects offered in schools, to award the NSC (matric) qualification at NQF level 4.

State funding for TVET college students will increase gradually over the next 4 to 5 years, whilst the new increased baseline funding is introduced into the system. All students enrolled in a TVET college, with a combined family income of up to
R350 000, will receive a bursary. NC(V) students, who meet the admission criteria of the college, can apply to enrol, in order to achieve the equivalent of the NSC offered in schools. The exact number of such enrolments in future cannot be clearly determined at this stage. The NC(V) enrolments for 2018 is 134 925. Should the demand remain, this figure can be maintained for the next 4 to 5 years.

(b) The Department funds all the students that are enrolled in Community Education and Training (CET) colleges for formal programmes at NQF level 1. The envisaged numbers of enrolments are as follows:

Academic year

Numbers of enrolments


320 000


340 000


360 000


The funding allocated to CET colleges and Community Learning Centres for the 2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework period excluding the Compensation of Employees is as follows:

Allocation Category










CET Colleges: Operational Budget

31 076

32 713

34 348

Community Learning Centre (Transfers and Subsidies)

109 924

116 080

122 464


141 000

148 793

156 812

The current funding is neither per programme/learning area nor per student due to the fact that when the adult education and training function shifted to the Department in 2015, the Department inherited the funding arrangement that prevailed in the Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) and it was different across the various PEDs.

There is a process underway to develop new national Norms and Standards for the Funding of CET colleges. There is also a need to conduct a costing for the programmes/learning areas offered in CET colleges, as well as to quantify the funding requirements in the sector. These processes, once finalised, will assist in ensuring the equitable distribution of funds to CET colleges.

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