Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has warned that the graduate output targets in the human health scarce skills field will not be met by 2014 with the current rate of medical professionals produced by training institutions.
Nzimande raised his concerns during the first meeting held with the leadership of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) in Johannesburg earlier this week.
The meeting follows a request by SAMA to discuss issues, including the current state of South African medical training, transformation of post-graduate training of medical specialists, funding of medical students and the recognition and classification of a post-graduate health management qualification.
Nzimande said government was also concerned about the throughput rate to the extent that they have met with the deans of scarce skills faculties as well as the leadership of Higher Education South Africa to interrogate the challenges and explore interventions that are needed to meet the national set targets for graduate output in scarce skills areas.
“In our discussions with the deans, we have further highlighted the need to develop a comprehensive programme of tutoring and mentoring first year students as one of the ways of dealing with the low graduate throughput rate in the scarce skills areas,” Nzimande said.
He added that there was an even stronger urgency for the department to improve coordination with the Department of Health as Department of Higher Education and Training was responsible for producing the output that would move into the health professionals’ environment after graduating from institutions of higher education and training.