Mature age exemptions nothing new says Nzimande

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Minister Nzimande said he has received criticism for suggesting that matric endorsements should not be the only entry point into university. He has also emphasised that mature age exemptions were nothing new in South African education systems.

"In the early 1990s, special courses were introduced by some universities to prepare matriculants who were not academically ready for admission to university. Some remnants of these courses may still exist and I know that some universities are investigating other entry routes.'

"These kinds of interventions need to be systemised and made more widespread... Surely our underprivileged (and even privileged) youth should have the right of a second chance if they do not succeed in their matric exams," said Nzimande.

"There are almost 3 million young South Africans between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age who are neither in employment, education or training. In other words, they're not working and they're not learning.

"This is an enormous number of youth whose prospects for the future are very bleak. The higher education and training system must ensure that these prospects are substantially improved by the expansion of education and training opportunities in the universities, the colleges and the workplace.

In short, South Africa?s higher education institutions need to be inclusive of a broader range of South Africans, the Minister said. He was speaking at a public lecture in Witwatersrand.

".education transformation is not narrowly about technocratic policy choices, but is about advancing a developmental agenda to benefit the overwhelming majority of our citizens.'

"We need to ensure that our education system must deliberately foster the teaching, learning and critique of divergent views and not be hostage to a single totalising idea, as has increasingly been the case over the past 20 years or so.

"This calls for a crusade on curriculum transformation, especially in our higher education system, so that views that seek to elevate the interests of the poor, the vulnerable, the exploited, and those discriminated against are given prominence.'

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