Empty promises to blame for crisis at TVET campuses – Belinda Bozzoli

DA says Nzimande has been aware of massive problems at colleges for years

Nzimande’s empty promises to blame for crisis at TVET campuses

18 January 2017

The Democratic Alliance will today write to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training, Ms Connie September, to request an urgent investigation into the conditions of students at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, including oversight visits to the colleges most affected.

TVET students have threatened to shut down all 50 TVET colleges across the country this week citing major problems, such as weak leadership, corruption and massive certificate backlogs which have led to the colleges being totally dysfunctional. These shut downs have already begun.

The DA is strongly opposed to this call and urges students to desist from doing so. Shut downs will only hurt poor students, and make accessing an education more difficult.

We nevertheless sympathize with the many students who have consistently raised concerns only to be ignored by an uncaring government.

The truth of the matter is that we shouldn’t have to be in this situation today. The Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, has been aware of these massive problems for many years.

These concerns include:

- A lack of funding and student support;

- Financial mismanagement and corruption;

- Unqualified and unprepared lecturers; and

- Poor administrative delivery and delays, particularly in the issuing of certification to students completing their studies.

The ANC-led government and the Minister have seen fit to neglect Higher Education as a whole and the TVET sector specifically, which is vital to ensuring that students not admitted to university, are able to access quality education.

For many students who did not receive Bachelor passes, TVET colleges are one of the only options for further training. With 9 million people unemployed, vocational courses can play a crucial role in empowering young South Africans to participate fully in the economy and improve their personal circumstances. Meeting target enrolment numbers will mean little if the quality of TVET qualifications does not improve.

The DA notes that the Department of Higher Education has promised to meet with stakeholders this week, and we urge the Minister to take swift and appropriate action rather than simply following the usual ANC line in Higher Education – making promises that the state simply can’t deliver on.

Our children deserve nothing less.

Issued by Belinda Bozzoli, DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training, 18 January 2017