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Message from Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande

Expanding and improving capacity at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges is a vital part of the mission to create a comprehensive and differentiated post school system in which universities and colleges are key providers of services to meet education and training needs. The FET College Summit will be an important step to mapping the way forward and dealing with the challenges which have beset individaul institutions and the sector as a whole.

Our vision is for the sector to grow rapidly on a firm basis of quality and to be accessible to both young people and adults. FET colleges remain central to the skills development agenda and intensive work is underway by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in partnership with our stakeholders to position the sector to be the primary platform for skills training. The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) must be aligned to the colleges and universities of technology to support their mandate.

It is important to create linkages across post-school institutions and to ensure that all learners get appropriate work experience. We need to promote the unique role of colleges in the skills development landscape and also reposition colleges in terms of access, availability and time.

To achieve this vision, the FET College summit will serve as a platform for thorough engagement so that together we can seek to find solutions to identified problems that all stakeholders can support. The summit will be followed by intensive work to assist colleges to be ready for the start of 2011.

After this very important summit, work will continue to strengthen colleges. We are determined that the college sector is firmly part of the DHET family and is empowered to effectively and efficiently perform its critical role in our country.