School failing us — trainees

2011-05-23 00:00

THE Department of Education has again had to defend the Manaye Adult Education Training (AET) Centre, after a second group of students recently raised complaints very similar to those made by another group of students three years ago.

In 2008 The Witness reported that AET students had questioned the credibility of the centre. A new group of students has now raised similar concerns, among which is the issue that courses on offer are changed, without notice. Students say they have to wait up to three years for subjects to be put back on the syllabus. By then the same students would have to start all over again.

They also said they would enrol and faithfully attend throughout the year, only to be told that they have failed.

Those who are lucky enough to write their exams told The Witness that when it came to getting results, they are told that no one had reported for the exams, although their names appear on the register.

In certain instances, the students allege, they are also told that the whole class failed a particular subject.

Students believe these practices are aimed at keeping enrolment up for government funding.

They also allege that they are forced to buy airtime to support the centre.

Education Department spokesperson Sihle Mlotshwa said AET centres do not offer all the learning courses in all levels every year because of restricted budgets. But students are briefed beforehand, he said.

By comparison, the Manaye Pearson Adult Learning Centre offers level one (equivalent to grades R-3), level two (grades 4-6), level three (grades 7-8) and level four (equivalent to grade 9) as well as grade 12.

Responding to students’ claims that they never receive reports, Mlotshwa said the centre keeps a book in which it records the exam admission letters and results.

He said he is willing to open them up for verification.

As for classes failing en massse, Mlotshwa said, the Manaye AET centre had 237 students in 2010, 148 of whom were matriculants and 206 of whom passed.

Asked about allegations that results are not being released Mlotshwa said this is a common challenge and a problem with the examination and assessment sub-directorate. The sub-directorate has received correspondence on this over the years, he said.

On the issue of airtime, Mlotshwa said this was a resolution taken by the centre’s governing body after deliberations with students. The idea was to finance administrative issues.





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