Sasco to march on Union Buildings to demand revamping of TVET colleges

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Sasco members at  Unisa's Sunnyside-campus in Pretoria.
Sasco members at Unisa's Sunnyside-campus in Pretoria.
Morapedi Mashashe
  • Sasco has threatened to shut down the country should their demands fall on deaf ears.
  • The student body is marching to the Union Buildings, as well as the offices of premiers, to demand that TVET colleges be revamped.
  • The student body has complained that more attention and funding is allocated to universities.

The South African Students Congress (Sasco) is threatening to shut down the country if their demands are not met by President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The student body is calling for a revamp of all Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in the country, complaining that students at those colleges have been marginalised.

Sasco demanded that Ramaphosa and the Department of Higher Education and Training reposition TVET colleges so that they become institutions of choice.

Sasco leader Bamanye Matiwane told News24 that students wanted government to revamp the curriculum of TVET colleges as it was outdated and did not prepare students for future employment.

Infrastructure development had to be prioritised as most of these colleges had minimal lecture spaces, without laboratories, and no accommodation for students, he said.

He said that Ramaphosa had made commitments to build nine new colleges, however, no work had been done so far.

READ | Maritzburg fever students shut down Tvet colleges

Matiwane also complained that college councils had delayed the issuing of certificates and diplomas to students, leaving them frustrated and unable to participate in the job market. 

He said students would be marching to the Union Buildings, as well as on the offices of premiers in each province. 

"We must make sure TVET sector is revamped. We need to make sure that students are in good classrooms so that the living and learning conditions can be proper," he said. 

Matiwane said Sasco was also calling for increased funding for TVET students in terms of financial allocations. He added that Ramaphosa must fast-track the process of transformation and quickly establish a committee to deal with students' interest.

"We can't wait any longer. If the president does not respond to us within 14 days, we have no choice but to respond with our energy," he said. 

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has pledged its support to the planned national march.

In a statement, Nehawu said more attention have been paid to the success of universities while less attention have been paid to TVET colleges.

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"Currently, universities receive more funding than TVET colleges and this has resulted in underdeveloped colleges that are not well equipped to fulfil their mandates. Even the National Students Financial Aid Scheme has different funding levels for both TVET and university students. TVET college students receive less funding than their university counterparts.

"On the bargaining front, Nehawu is still busy with forcing the department to implement in full our settlement agreement post our strike in 2019. The national union will not rest until all our demands in both the TVET and community education and training sector are fully met by the department for the benefit of our members and workers," Nehawu said. 

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