Sihlalo ngiyabonga ithuba onginika lona, ngibingelele oNgqongqoshe abakhona phakathi kule Ndlu, oSekela Ngqongqoshe abakhona, abahlonishwa abakhona bePhalamende, ngibingelele zonke izihambeli zethu ezikhona phakathi kwethu.
Ngesinye isikhathi kuba khona izinto ezidumazayo, ziphoxe uma uzwa ozwakwethu abangaphesheya, sikade sibabona begijima neziqubulo, isiqubulo esinjengalsie esithi, ngizosicaphuna ngendlela abasisho ngayo lapho bethi, We Deliver For all. Uma sesizozwa futhi ozakwethu khona ngaphesheya ngale, sekuyibona abaqala kuqala bakhahlele, bacithe usizo okumele silulele ebantwini bakithi abampofu nabahluphekile.
Lapho sikhuluma ngokuthi siyafisa ukuthi wonke umfundi abe nokusizakala ekutheni ayithole imali yokungena isikole, afunde. Akwazi ukuthi izindlela zakhe zivuleke angene ezifundweni zezikhungo eziphakeme. Kodwa sibezwe kuyibona abakhala kuqala bakhalela izimali zabakhokhi intela. Lokho kuyasibonisa ukuthi lezi ziqubulo abagijima ngazo ngesinye isikhathi, basuke-nje bathunthubaza abantu bakithi kodwa uma sekufanele ngempela ukuthi benze lokhu abathi bazokwenza, sibona begxugxuma kunezinto ezifana nalezi. Kudumaza kakhulu ukuthi sibone izinto ezinjenga lezi. [Ihlombe.] Okunye engifisa ukundlula kukona, yila uzakwethu ovela ku-FF Plus, sibona ilukuluku analo ukuthi akwazi ukukhuluma ngokufunda kolimi izikolweni zethu.
Siyajabula futhi ngithanda ukuncoma kakhulu kwi-African National Congress, ekutheni ngowe-1976 lapho kwaqalwa khona, sitshelwa ukuthi kwezemfundo kumele sisebenzise ulimi lwesibhunu. Asibonanga nabodwa abantu basukuma ngaphandle kwabantu abamnyama. Ikakhulukazi ababevela kwi-African National Congress. Manje sebayivula leyo nkundla bawavula namehlo, siyajabula ukubona ukuthi kanti i-African National Congress ikhona ukufundisa abantu ukuthi izinto ezinjenga lezi siyakwazi ukuthathelwa phambili.
Okubi ukuthi baqala ukukhuluma ngazo manje uhulumeni oholwa nguKhongolose usuqalile ukuzisebenzisa lezinto futhi sesibonile zonke izilimi zithathwa, zibekwa endaweni yazo. Manje kuyamangaza ukuthi ngalesi sikhathi samanje usakhulumani umuntu, mayelana nokufundiswa kwezilimi. Uma aliyeka ithuba lakhe lapho kwakuphoqwa khona ukuthi sifundiswe ngesibhunu noma sifunde ngesibhunu ngendlela okwakubekwe ngayo. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[Ms N GINA: Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity which you are affording me. I greet the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers present in this House, Members of Parliament and all our guests amongst us.
At times there are things that are disappointing and embarrassing if you listen to our colleagues from the opposition, after we have seen them canvassing with slogans, like the one which I quote just like they say it: "We Deliver For All". And suddenly we hear the same people being the first to push away help which should be extended to our poor and suffering people.
When we speak about our wish that every learner should be assisted with regard to admission and study fees, have his or her way paved and allow him or her access to tertiary institutions, we hear them saying that it is a waste of the taxpayers' money. This shows us that these slogans which they use when they are canvassing are just used to fool our people, because when they have to do what they said they would, we see them reluctant on issues like this.
It is really disappointing to see such things happening. [Applause.] Another issue that I want to touch on is the one raised by our colleague from the FF Plus. We noted the sudden rise of emotion and temper when he spoke about language issues in our schools.
We are happy, and I would like to commend the African National Congress, because in 1976 when everything was initiated, when we were told learning should be in Afrikaans, nobody stood up against this except the black people, especially the ones from the African National Congress. Now that they have created that platform and opened people's eyes, we are excited to see that the African National Congress is in existence to teach people that such issues can be prioritised.
Unfortunately though, they are starting to talk about these issues when the government led by the ANC has already started addressing them, and we have already seen all our languages being promoted. Now it is amazing that at this juncture, a person should choose to talk about language teaching when he did not use his chance when it was compulsory for us to be taught in, or to learn through, Afrikaans as was stipulated.]
Through its progressive policies, the South African democratic government, led by the ANC, has succeeded in redressing the past inequalities in the higher-education system that were created and structured by the apartheid policies, with separate institutions for different racial, ethnic and language groups. It has also progressed in transforming the higher- education system to serve a new social order, to meet pressing national needs and to respond to new realities and opportunities, as outlined in the White Paper of 1997.
Some concrete steps have been taken by the government to overhaul the higher-education landscape through policy shifts, also through measures such as the merger of universities. All these steps have ensured increased access and participation of the formerly disadvantaged groups, such as Africans, female and disabled persons, in higher education. Participation by both the African and female population has grown more than that of males.
In 1994, about 37% of students in the system were white, 7% Indian, 6% coloured and 50% African, while 92% of all PhD students were white. In 2009, 21% of students were white and 66% African, while 44% of PhD students were white and 42% were African.
Yes, we agree that there are capacity constraints in the higher-education system as a whole. However, the growth in student numbers has not been matched with expansion in terms of infrastructure, Minister. Most higher- education institutions function at maximum capacity and cannot easily increase student numbers further.
The higher pass rate of the class of 2010, which has caused such concern for our colleagues on the opposite side, has fired some warning shots for our government regarding the issue of capacity constraints of our universities to cater for all the learners who qualify for university admission.
Minister, we are very happy and we welcome the fact that the budget for this year and the coming years has catered for this issue. After all, the lack of accommodation at student residences at universities mostly affects learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. Most of these institutions are in the urban areas and there is an influx from the rural areas. So you find that these learners from rural areas are frustrated. That is why we are saying that we welcome this move of looking into the issue of infrastructure and our learners being accommodated in a proper way. [Applause.]
We have seen challenges around the issue of accommodation, but again we need to applaud the steps taken towards making sure that we are going to erect those two universities, the one in Mpumalanga and the one in North West. Thank you very much for that. It is going to make sure it caters for our students out there.
We notice and appreciate the strides made in ensuring that poor children who are academically deserving get access to higher education through the increased allocation to the National Student Financial Aid scheme, NSFAS. The central policy objectives set out in the White Paper - of providing poor and historically disadvantaged students with access to higher education and contributing to the skills pool necessary to drive economic growth and development - are being realised.
We have to acknowledge, though, that there are still challenges, such as the issue of top-slicing, particularly in the historically disadvantaged institutions, which we still see happening today. The full cost of study does not apply in those institutions and they had to ensure that all NSFAS- qualifying students received at least a portion of the allocation. Again, with your announcement today of doubling what you are giving to NSFAS, we hope that access to higher education is one of the things that will be covered. We want to recommend that, Minister.
Another challenge that we have is the need to create a new generation of academics to replace the ageing researchers that we have in the system. Though the enrolment in postgraduate studies has increased compared to 1994, the numbers are still not satisfactory. One of the contributing factors might be that the National Research Fund, NRF, which is funding postgraduate students, solely depends on the niche areas that the students are researching. Other than that, what is being done by the NSFAS?
In some institutions there are no stipends for students who are interested in pursuing postgraduate studies. Their economic background forces them to look for employment instead of furthering their postgraduate studies. That is why we experience these huge gaps, but we hope this will be catered for through the funding system that is coming up.
The current means tax excludes students whose families earn above R122 000 per annum, but cannot afford to pay the tuition. Minister, we know this is very close to your heart and you always talk about that bracket, saying we need to do something. We really encourage that because this situation mostly affects students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
One other challenge that the Minister has talked about, but, I need to emphasise, is the huge percentage - about 41,6% - of the young people in this country who are neither in employment, education nor training. That raises huge concerns because those young people are the future of our country. We hope and believe that when we come together with the Setas, FET colleges and institutions of higher education, we are going to make sure that we cater for those young people. Given the Minister's announcement of the community skills development centres, we hope and believe that through these centre we are going to lessen the huge number of people who fall into this category, because they are a real concern to us.
Minister, I know that ... ngesiZulu kunesisho esithi, uma imoto iduma sike sizwe umsindo nezinja ziyasuka ziyikhonkhothe ziyilandele, kodwa uma imoto imile inganyakazi izinja aziyinaki. Okungale kwalokho zingafika zizofuna umthunzi, ekugcineni bese ziyayichamela. Yisisho sesiZulu leso. [Uhleko.]
Ngakho-ke Ngqongqoshe, esikushoyo sithi siyawubona umsebenzi ophakama nawo, futhi siyazi ukuthi usenguMnyango omusha osasukuma ongakami ngezinyawo zawo. Kodwa uma kuzwakala umsindo ozwakala ngendlela ozwakala ngayo, kuyasibonisa thina esisemuva kwakho, sikubhekile ngokulindeleke kulo Mnyango. Okusho ukuthi yimoto ehambayo le, ngoba ukuba ayihambi ngabe asiwuzwa wonke lo msindo. [Ihlombe.]
Ngakho-ke Ngqongqoshe, sithi qinisa uqhubekele phambili [Ihlombe.] Ekugcineni esikutshela khona ukuthi qina idolo ngoba ekugcineni siyakubona ukukhanya ngale. Siyafisa ukubona ezemfundo zethu zishintshile, wonke umuntu ethola ukusizakala okufanele ngoba siyazi ukuthi ezemfundo yisona isikhali esinaso.
Yikho sibona abanye abaphikisayo bezama ngakho konke okusemandlemni ukuthi bayivale iminyango engena emfundweni ngoba kuzovula inkungu ekhona ebantwini bakithi bangakwazi ukuthola imishanguzo ekhona ukuze sishintshe ikusasa laleli zwe. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[... in isiZulu there is a saying that if a car's ignition is turned on, it creates a sound, and the dogs will pursue it as it moves, but if it is stationary, the dogs will ignore it. They can come to it for some shade and eventually urinate on it. That is an isiZulu saying. [Laughter.]
Therefore, Minister, what we are saying is that we appreciate the work you have reported on here and we know that your department is still new and still trying to find its feet. But if there is some noise, like that which is audible now, it shows us who are behind you so that we are vigilant about the expectations from this department. It shows that this is a mobile car for if it was stationary we would not hear this noise. [Applause.]
Therefore Minister, we urge you to continue with your work. [Applause.] In closing, we are telling you to be strong because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We are hoping to see some changes in our education system, with everyone getting assistance, because we know that education is a powerful weapon.
That is why some people from the opposition are trying their best to close the doors to education, because it will clear people's minds so that we can positively shape the future of this country. Thank you. [Applause.]]