Address high vacancy rates in post-school education sector – Committee

High number of vacant positions at executive and senior management levels at TVET colleges concerning

Urgent solutions needed to address high vacancy rates in post-school education sector

7 February 2024

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education Science and Innovation is concerned about the high number of vacant positions at executive and senior management levels at technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges. The committee visited the King Sabata Dalindyebo TVET College and the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha as part of its oversight visits to post-school education and training institutions in the Eastern Cape.
The committee met with the management, councils, student representative bodies, labour unions, and institutional forums at both sites to discuss their governance issues and preparations for the 2024 academic year.
At the TVET college, the committee noted the maintenance and refurbishment work done in the lecture halls at its Mthatha Campus, the first since the college was established. Notwithstanding the progress made, the committee is concerned with inadequate maintenance of the newly built student hostels and unhygienic kitchens where students prepare their meals and called upon the management and the student community to look after their infrastructure.
The committee is satisfied with the college’s enrolment and registration processes, which the council said progressed without any major hiccups. The committee is concerned about the vacant Principal position, which has been occupied by five different incumbents over five years. This situation must be resolved, the committee said. The college leadership told the committee that it experienced student dropouts as a result of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme delays in finalising funding decisions, which led to other delays in the disbursement of student allowances.
The committee commended the college for the well-kept workshops and also noted the need to expand the space to safely store workshop equipment. Of great concern to the committee was the reported theft by students of electrical equipment used in the workshop. They urged that civic education be taught to all students.
The committee was concerned that Walter Sisulu University experienced a five per cent decline in its overall success rate during 2023 and called upon management to find solutions to arrest the decline. The committee commended the university for ensuring that all its courses have been accredited. Management told the committee that previous student strikes were caused by a lack of clarity on funding. However, they are hopeful that with engagements between students and management, future strikes could be averted. The committee commends the calibre of members of the council, good governance and management is important in building our institutions.

Issued by Jabulani Majozi, Media Officer, Parliamentary Communication Services, 7 February 2024