Further Education and Training

Further Education and Training takes place from grades 10 to 12, and also includes career-oriented education and training offered in other Further Education and Training institutions - technical colleges, community colleges and private colleges. Diplomas and certificates are qualifications recognised at this level.

The matric pass rate, which was as low as 40% in the late 1990s, has shown some improvement, 68.3% in 2005 and 66.5% in 2006, although it has dipped to 65% in 2007 and 62.7% in 2008. A total of 533 561 students sat the matriculation exams in 2008, of which 333 681 passed.

General and Further Education and Training Newly-elected president Jacob Zuma announced in May 2009 that the national Department of Education would be split into two ministries - Basic Education, and Higher Education and Training.

South African Communist Party secretary-general, Dr Blade Nzimande, is the new minister of Higher Education and Training, while former Gauteng Education MEC, Angie Motshekga, now oversees the Ministry of Basic Education.

Each ministry is responsible for its level of education across the country as a whole, while each of the nine provinces has its own education department.

The Ministry of Basic Education focuses on adult basic education and training in addition to primary and secondary education. The Ministry of Higher Education and Training is responsible for tertiary education up to doctorate level, and technical and vocational training. It also oversees the numerous sector education and training authorities.

The central government provides a national framework for school policy, but administrative responsibility lies with the provinces. Power is further devolved to grassroots level via elected school governing bodies, which have a significant say in the running of their schools.

Private schools and higher education institutions have a fair amount of autonomy, but are expected to fall in line with certain government non-negotiables - no child may be excluded from a school on grounds of his or her race or religion, for example.

The Further Education and Training (FET) branch is responsible for the development of policy for grades 10 to 12 in public and independent schools, as well as in public and private FET colleges.

It monitors the integrity of assessment in schools and colleges, and offers an academic curriculum as well as a range of vocational subjects. FET colleges cater for out-of-school youth and adults.

The branch oversees, coordinates and monitors the system’s response to improved learner participation and performance in maths, science and technology. It also devises strategies aimed at the use of information and communication technology (ICT), and supports curriculum implementation through the national educational portal, Thutong (Setswana, meaning “place of learning”).

The latest available statistics show that in 2007 South Africa had 14 167 086 pupils enrolled in all sectors of the education system, attending 35 231 educational institutions and served by 452 971 teachers and lecturers.

The breakdown of schools includes 26 065 ordinary schools and 9 166 other education institutions – namely, special schools, early childhood development (ECD) sites, public adult basic education and training (ABET) centres, public further education and training (FET) institutions and public higher education (HE) institutions.

Of the total enrolled pupils, 12 048 821 (85.0%) were in public schools and 352 396 (2.5%) were in independent schools. Of the pupils in other institutions, 761 087 (5.4%) were in public HE institutions, 320 679 (2.3%) were in public FET institutions, 292 734 (2.1%) were in public ABET centres, 289 312 (2.0%) were in ECD centres, and 102 057 (0.7%) were in special schools.

The total of 26 065 ordinary schools comprised 15 358 primary schools, with 6 316 064 pupils and 191 199 teachers; 5 670 secondary schools, with 3 831 937 pupils and 128 183 teachers; and 5 037 combined and intermediate schools, with 2 253 216 pupils and 74 843 teachers.

Other educational facilities included 2 278 ABET centres, 50 public FET institutions, 4 800 ECD centres and 23 HE institutions.

In government-funded public schools, the average ratio of pupils (known as "learners" in terms of the country's outcomes-based education system) to teachers ("educators") is 31.5 to one, while private schools generally have one teacher for every 17.5 scholars.


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