Number of Seta skills bursaries handed to students up by 17%, MPs told

2016-11-18 18:36
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Cape Town - The number of bursaries given to students by Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) increased by 17% in 2015/16, Parliament's standing committee on appropriations has heard.

The higher education and training department's annual presentation on Friday was led by deputy director general of skills development Zukile Mvalo.

The Setas had a target of 20 417 bursaries for the financial year ending March 2016 and had handed out 26 100 during the period.

The figure is up from the 22 307 bursaries handed out in 2014/15.

Mvalo said the Seta programme was facing a number of challenges, but also had a few "opportunities" to improve.

Poor governance, poor planning and a lack of capacity were some of the problems plaguing the 21 Setas whose performances differed.

He also said the public had a negative perception of Setas and many people did not know what a Seta was.

What is a Seta?

A Seta is a vocational skills training organisation and is part of the department of higher education and training.

There are 21 Setas and each is responsible for managing and creating learnerships, internships, unit-based skills programmes and apprenticeships within its field.

Some of the opportunities facing the sector included adding more artisans to the economy; supporting the National Development Plan for growth and Seta's ability to connect the labour force with educators.

ANC MP Sheila Shope-Sithole asked the department to justify why the Seta programme was necessary, given that most people in rural areas were unaware of its existence.

The department said it played a crucial role in bridging the response time between labour needs and the skills shortage in the economy.

Its problems were mainly on the planning and infrastructure level and help was needed from Parliament.

'We are looking for money'

Committee chairperson Yvonne Phosa said it was no secret that Parliament was trying to find money for all the higher education departments and said the Seta representatives must help them to help the Seta.

"We are looking for money...we don't have to hide," Phosa told the officials.

"We want money for the department of higher education and to see if money can be redirected to post-school education sectors."

The committee meeting was not well attended on Friday.

Only half of the 12 MPs on the committee were present and both Minister Blade Nzimande and Deputy Minister Manana apologised for not attending the meeting.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education

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