The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor reiterated that the primary purpose of the department of higher education and training is to see students graduate and succeed, and to play a productive role in the development of the nation.
Minister Pandor expressed concern at the number of student who fail to graduate, which she described as “waste of talent and the waste of money”.
Minister Pandor was speaking at the Higher Education and Training Health Wellness and Development Centre (HEAIDS) Partner and Stakeholder Breakfast meeting, held at the Southern Sun Hotel, Airport Grounds, Jones Road, OR Tambo International Airport, this morning (Thursday, 15 August 2018).
The breakfast meeting is one of the annual events organised by the Higher Education and Training Health and Wellness and Development Centre (HEAIDS Programme) with key stakeholders from the universities; Non-governmental Organisations; and business to share ideas on how to strengthen support to students and staff at both universities and colleges with respect to issues of health and wellness, including HIV&AIDS.
The other objective is to network and strengthen relations in order to mobilise resources and support for the HEAIDS programme.
Minister Pandor hailed government’s decision to provide fee-free college and university education support for students from poor and low-income families as an historic one.
“It has the potential to overcome the inherited inequalities that continue to trouble our society.
It also holds out the promise of strengthening our national skills base as an essential ingredient for stronger economic growth.” Minister Pandor said.
Minister Pandor said the massive investment in post school education and training, especially at a time when budgets for almost all other government programmes were being frozen or even reduced, was a clear indication of the importance that government attached to higher education.
Acknowledging that challenges in higher education and training were far more complex than funding, Minister Pandor said success required a collaborative effort from individuals and organisations with varied skills and resources.
Regarding the DHET’s role, Minister Pandor highlighted a R 1 billion a year University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP), which provides special grants to promote comprehensive transformation at universities. This will give concrete meaning to the call for the decolonization of academic institutions through funding interventions focused on the curriculum and on organizational cultures.
Minister Pandor also spoke of the gender-based violence (GBV), which she said, had taken centre stage both in South Africa and higher education in particular, last year.
She said she was particularly thankful for the commitment and support from stakeholders and development partners, singling out the United Nations (UN) Women, which has partnered with the HEAIDS programme to finalise a GBV Policy and Strategy Framework.
“In addition to funding, they have provided technical guidance and expertise, as well as access to innovative strategies in relation to web-based platforms, safer city toolkits and various other resources from their wider repertoire of resources and experience in this area.
I’m delighted that we have the Executive Director, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in attendance at this event, and I look forward to learning from her on the steps we should take to be ready to release the higher education GBV Policy Framework and, more importantly, its implementation thereafter.” She said.
Issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology