A third tier of higher education, targeting out-of-school youngsters and adults with no prospect of accessing vocational and technical colleges and universities, has been established by the Department of Higher Education.
Community education and training colleges (CETC) are new types of institutions which are a result of merged public adult learning centres.
The establishment of this tier adds a foundation level to the existing technical and vocational education training colleges (TVET) and universities (which includes universities of technology).
Nine CETCs have been named nationally following the mergers of hundreds of public adult learning centres.
Minister Blade Nzimande announced the national policy on community education and training colleges which provides the framework for the move in a Government Gazette earlier this month.
According to the policy, the CETCs will primarily target youngsters and adults who, for various reasons, did not complete their schooling or who never attended school.
The colleges will focus on the skills shortages of the communities in which they operate, and provide the General Education and Training Certificate: Adult Basic Education Training) at national qualifications Level 1, equivalent to Grade 9.
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