Protesting college students have valid complaints - Nzimande

2017-01-26 18:07
Police in riot gear prevent protesting students from entering Ekurhuleni West College in Gauteng during a nationwide shutdown of TVET colleges. (Yonke Twani, GroundUp)

Police in riot gear prevent protesting students from entering Ekurhuleni West College in Gauteng during a nationwide shutdown of TVET colleges. (Yonke Twani, GroundUp)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The complaints of protesting TVET college students are "very valid", Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.

"Unfortunately we as South Africans have in recent times often focused disproportionately on our universities, instead of giving appropriate attention to the entire post-school education and training sector, and TVET colleges in particular," he told reporters in Cape Town.

The department only took over responsibility for the colleges two years ago, and found some were poorly managed. It was trying to rectify this, he said.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges, previously known as Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, are geared for study in specific scarce skills.

Three new colleges are expected to be opened in 2017: Thabazimbi Campus at the Waterberg TVET College in Limpopo; Bambanani Campus at uMfolozi TVET College in KwaZulu-Natal; and Nkandla A Campus at uMfolozi TVET College in KwaZulu-Natal.

This year, TVET colleges will have 207 510 places for new entrants. A total of 142 484 of these places are for students interested in studying towards a national diploma in engineering or business studies.

Another 65 026 places will be available across 19 programmes for the national certificate (vocational), which provides theory and practical experience in a range of vocational fields.

SA Further Education and Training Students Association (Safetsa) president Yonke Twani told News24 after Nzimande's briefing that colleges and students at the 50 TVET colleges countrywide needed urgent attention.

Insufficient funding

TVET students had been protesting in all provinces, except in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, Twani said.  

They had handed a memorandum to Nzimande to complain about insufficient funding, late payment for accommodation and transport allowances, victimisation of students, poor infrastructure development with no funding model, and results and certificates not being released.

Although Nzimande had said TVET college students were entitled to the same funding assistance as university students in theory, Twani said this was not happening.

University students received loans, but TVET students got bursaries, and not for the same amounts as university students, he claimed.

Nzimande insisted on Thursday that the 8% fee increase limit imposed on universities last year, also applied to all TVET students with a family income below R600 000 a year.

The release of 54 561 November subject results for TVET colleges had been blocked because of alleged leaks of exam papers in four subjects. The results of another 1 298 candidates were being withheld because of allegations of cheating.

A further 8 224 subject results had not been released yet because of capturing problems, incorrect codes, or data processing errors.

Intervention task team

Nzimande said all outstanding result issues would be resolved by February 28, and all certificates for the November 2016 exams would be processed by March 31.

The blocked results would be released once Umalusi had studied a report on them.

The department was clearing the certification backlog for the national certificate level 2, 3 and 4 qualifications from 236 821 certificates, in August 2015, to 973.

Regarding complaints about poorly qualified lecturers, the department had partnered with some universities to start offering dedicated lecturer qualifications.

Nzimande said that, according to a survey conducted in 2015 for the 710 000 students at the time, there had only been 10 120 beds available.

The department had a 10-year plan to add 300 000 beds for college student through private enterprises.

An intervention task team has been set up for TVET students, and Nzimande and Safetsa representatives were expected to meet on Friday.


Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  protests  |  education

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/News
 

Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.

 
 

You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.