TVET trainees sitting at home

2019-02-25 14:58

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A group of frustrated Plessislaer TVET College graduates, who hold an Educare Diploma (ECD), say their qualifications are gathering dust as they are unable to get jobs.

The students say their three-year qualification, achieved after 18 months of attending classes and 18 months practical training, was a waste of time and money.

The Department Higher Education and Training (DHET) said the purpose of the Educare qualification is for child care and is focused on teachers for the age group 0-5 years.

The qualification is not, however, recognised for employment in public schools under the Department of Basic Education (DBE).

A student who graduated in 2015 claimed that she and thousands of other Educare graduates are sitting at home with their qualifications, unable to find jobs as they are not recognised at schools.

The students, who were funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), are also questioning the authenticity of their qualification.

One student, who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation, told The Witness that the course has been offered at the College since 2012 and continues to be offered despite its being a “dead-end qualification”.

“When we go to the Department of Basic Education we are told that they can’t help us with a list of all the schools and childcare centres we can apply to because our qualifications are useless.

“Sometimes they laugh at us and tell us that we wasted our time studying this qualification and that we should consider going back to school.”

The TVET students also allege that there was a man at their campus offices scamming students.

He allegedly claimed he could transfer Educare students to Unisa where they could study for a year and get a recognised qualification for a cash fee of R500.

When the students inquired at Unisa they found the university knew nothing about it.

Another TVET student told The Witness that when they apply to work at local crèches they are only offered R800 per month.

“R800 a month is too little. The Basic and Higher Education Departments tell us to go back to school or to start our own crèches.

“Our question is why are they offering this dead-end qualification knowing very well that there is no job market for it,” she asked.

Ntombi Ntshangase, principal at the TVET Colleges in uMgungundlovu, assured students that their qualifications were authentic and certified by DHET.

Regarding the alleged scamster, she said the college was not aware of the matter and urged students to report it to the college management for investigation.

“If indeed there is a scamster who is scamming our students we will not hesitate to act and bring those individuals to task,” said Ntshangase.

Aruna Singh, chief director for programmes and qualifications at DHET, said the provision of ECD is in many instances done through social services provided by some municipalities.

This is certainly the case in the Western Cape where their students are readily absorbed into such services.

“Of course, like in all other areas of education there are private providers of varying quality and intention, such as the ones you refer to.

“That is something the DHET has no direct control over as the provision of ECD is controlled through the provincial Education Department,” Singh said, adding that most graduates would ideally be employed as caregivers or as teacher assistants in an ECD facility.

Social Development spokesperson, Ncumisa Ndelu, said there were childcare facilities available in the province but encouraged graduates to rather come together and start their own facilities as there was still a huge need for them.

Ndelu said most crèches were owned by NPOs and supported by the Department of Social Development.

“There can never be enough crèches. There can be three or four crèches in one area and they can all be doing well because parents want options and would usually opt for crèches closer to them,” said Ndelu.

She added that people can come together and form a committee, register an NPO and then go to their municipality who will inspect the proposed crèche premises and give them approval to open their childcare facility.

They can then go to the social development offices where they can get their final stamp of approval.

The department pays a subsidy of R17 per day for every child.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  tvet college
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