The Honorable MEC for Education Tate Makgoe’s address at the MEC and HOD’s meeting with the university management – University of the North West, North West Province
21 Aug 2010
MEC for the Free State Department of Police, Roads and Transport, Honorable TM Manyoni, Superintendent-General for the Free State Department of
Education Mr RS Malope
Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of the North West
Chairperson of the convocation of the university
Members of the convocation
All Professors present
Members of the university management
All staff members of the university present
Our bursary holders
All other students
Delegates from the corporate sector
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Program director let me acknowledge the warm welcome we received from the Management of the University of the North West. I would also like to acknowledge the University for its endless hospitality, by hosting yet another breed of students from our province, for the next couple of years during which they will be nurtured and equipped for their respective responsibilities in our society, when they finish their studies.
Commitment to human resource development
Program director, ladies and gentlemen, human resource development is critically important in South Africa’s development agenda. The importance of human resource development demands a response that has a sense of urgency. It demands a comprehensive and determined response from government. However, the scope and importance of the human resource development project extends beyond government: It demands a collective will and purposeful action from all stakeholders in society, It demands the determination, commitment and accountability of individuals to invest time and effort in their own development, It demands the commitment of all organisations to invest time and resources in human resource development, towards public good.
Therefore, it is obviously only through concerted efforts in human resource development throughout the country, that we can create suitable foundations for institutional and corporate missions. The urgency of the challenges, priorities and the importance of the outcomes we seek to achieve, oblige us as South Africans to forge a social compact which will promote demand-driven human resource development in the country.
It is through collective ownership and mobilising collective effort that we will succeed in achieving the goals of the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa. To respond to this demand, our provincial government has in place, structured programs whereby we focus on and intend to increase the number of matriculants who obtain university entrance certificates in science, mathematics, technology and accounting.
Provincial Mathematics, Science, Technology and Accounting (MSTA) enrichment project
In order to respond to the increasing need for skilled personnel in our province, we have an initiative called the Mathematics, Science, Technology and Accounting, with which we aim to engage grade 9 learners in Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Technology and Accounting enrichment programmes.
The purpose of the initiative is to demystify these learning areas for learners and develop their interest in these fields of study, so that they can continue studying them up to Grade 12 level. This will enable us to send a reasonable number of matriculants to universities annually, thus helping us reduce the level of skills scarcity in our province.
We have selected a number of schools from which grades 8 and 9 learners are sent for baseline tests. These tests are meant for proficiency assessment for English and basic skills in mathematics.
Most of these learners continue to study science and mathematics up to grade 12 levels and some obtain university entrance at matric level. We want to intensify this initiative as it enables us to send more matriculants to universities, to study towards science and mathematics related fields, like these students we are visiting here today.
Our structured programs focus on:
Increasing the participation and performance rate in English, Mathematics, Science and Accounting, with special emphasis on learner attainment and increasing endorsements
Increasing the participation and performance of black learners, particularly those who are taking Mathematics and Science, and following careers within Mathematics and Science fields
Strengthening and enhancing the capacity of educators to deliver quality English, Mathematics, Science,Technology and Accounting instruction in the classroom.
Program director, we are mindful of constraints that hamper our ability to deliver new mandates. We are faced with major challenges which would require rapid response from government and social partners such as universities, to overcome:
High levels of unemployment with a persistent scarcity of certain skills by the labor market
High levels of poverty
Poor service delivery models and rigid bureaucratic machinery
Low levels of productivity.
While we still have challenges in these areas, surely they are not insurmountable. As we have seen, over and over again our people back home are coming forward and show their readiness, their willingness to partner with the government in many of its endeavors.
We have looked at ways in which we could rise above these challenges in achieving our electoral mandate. We have set ourselves goals through outcome-based priorities as informed by the medium term strategic framework, which remains the most important government planning tool that steers the course of growth and development in our province.
The work we have done to date is informed by our collective vision, our belief in principles that have guided us for the past decade of our freedom. During this period, we went further to prioritise the programs as key in our Provincial Program of Action towards 2014.
These include the following:
Creation of decent jobs
Providing a long and healthy life for all
Improving quality basic education
Skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path
Rural and agrarian development
In this financial year, the province allocated R 100 million for these bursary holders from the Free State Government, so that the province is able to invest in the education of our youth. We went further to commit government to launch the Premier’s Bursary on scarce skills, whose purpose is to target students in the following fields of study:
In conclusion program director, our challenge moving forward is to identify areas of intervention in relation to our priorities and call upon universities in our country to join and work with us. I am sure that we can do more to better the lives of our people.
Thank you very much!
Source: Department of Education, Free State Provincial Government
Issued by: Free State Education
21 Aug 2010
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