Plans to re-introduce teacher training colleges were underway with one former college scheduled to re-open next week, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.
Speaking at a New Age business briefing in Johannesburg, he said the first school to open would be the Ndebele College Campus in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga.
Training at the college would be facilitated by the University of Johannesburg.
Three more colleges would be opened next year in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
Between 1994 and 2000 the government shut down teacher training colleges and merged them with other institutions. The move was aimed at “overcoming the educational inequalities of apartheid and reducing an identified oversupply of primary [school] teachers”.
In 2012, Nzimande said the higher education department had noted an increase in the number of people enrolling for full-time education programmes. Almost 38,000 enrolled for teaching courses in 2009 and over 41,000 in 2010.
Nzimande said the new colleges needed to focus on the development of teachers for the foundation phase.
With scores of new tertiary entrants students failing to pass most of their first year subjects, Nzimande dismissed claims that the lowering of the matric pass mark had played a role.
He said those who qualified for university degrees had usually obtained very high marks.
Nzimande said the fact that South Africa had 12 years of lower education probably played a role in pupils’ lack of readiness for tertiary level.
“We are one of the few countries with 12 years of schooling and about three years needed for a degree… Other countries have 13 years of schooling and four-year degrees.”
More mentoring and tutoring programmes were needed to help first-year students deal with the pressure of tertiary education. He said some institutions offered a foundation year for students not quite ready to begin tertiary courses. – Sapa