Speech by Minister Donald Grant – Western Cape Education Minister
I am so proud and honoured to be here this evening to acknowledge the outstanding success of individual students in the 2012 NC(V) and NATED examinations.
This is the second time we have hosted such an awards event for our students at FET colleges and I am delighted to be part of it again this evening.
The WCED goes out of its way to honour and acknowledge the individual achievements of our students and learners in as many education institutions and at as many levels as possible.
Within a week, I am attending not one, but three award ceremonies -The FET awards tonight, the Literacy and Numeracy awards tomorrow and then finally our Adult Basic Education awards early next week.
In the Western Cape, lifelong learning is a reality and as a province we want to celebrate our people’s success.
Just recently we held the National Senior Certificate awards. These FET College Awards complement these awards presented at the start of the year.
They provide an occasion to celebrate success and to highlight the contribution that FET colleges are making to education and skills development. In the Western Cape, we have a mixed economy, where our economy focuses on areas such as agriculture, tourism, construction and light industry. However, there are other areas which we are beginning to prioritise and strengthen such as ICT, engineering and business studies. These are key skills needed in the Western Cape and require an articulated system to meet these needs.
In the Western Cape this sector consists of 40 campuses within six colleges, a state budget of approximately R584 million and a staff complement of over 2 700 office based staff and lecturers.
This sector is by no means small in the Western Cape.
I am particularly excited about the number of work placement schemes our colleges offer. Our FET colleges have various mechanisms available to place learners in a working environment while studying. For example, there are over 11 000 learnership students currently in workshops for experiential training.
Tonight, however, is about your achievements. I would like to congratulate each of our individual winners on their achievements in these fields.
Thank you for the hard work you have put into your FET studies. It has now paid off. I sincerely hope that you realise just how proud this government, this department and the people of the Western Cape Province are of your achievements.
To all students here today, we know how competitive the job market is in the Western Cape. It is to be hoped that your success will be translated to constructive employment opportunities so that our economy benefits from what you have achieved. My sincere appreciation goes to all the lecturers and tutors who have successfully prepared the candidates for the 2012 examinations and whose dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed. I was particularly delighted to have learnt that we have surpassed all of the Department of Higher Education’s targets for 2012, with the most notable achievement in NC(V) 2. Here, we achieved over 61% compared to the national target of 44%.
Overall, we are pleased with all of your achievements while aware that even more can be done to improve the quality of education in our FET Colleges of the Western Cape even further.
We look forward to even greater improvements in 2013. Thank you.