The dream of South Africa as a learning nation is “alive and well” in the DA

Issued by Andricus van der Westhuizen MP – DA Shadow Deputy Higher Education and Training
16 May 2017 in News

Chairperson, Honourable members

I recently reminded the Minister of the dream which we all shared in the 1990’s.

A dream that this nation would become a learning nation. One in which all South Africans would be able to break the shackles of poverty and unlock their potential, through an effective public training system.

TVET colleges were part of that dream. Yet, instead of growing the number of college students, we saw a 32% decline from 2015 to 2016 in the number of students enrolled for the National Certificate Vocational (NCV) Level 4.

60% of TVET colleges are dysfunctional with a pass rate of less than 40%. Less than 5% of the initial intake passed Level 4 in the prescribed time. The department is only providing 54%, of the operating budgets that TVET colleges are entitled to. And due to the complete lack of a capital budget for years, most of the equipment needed for training is completely outdated.

While young people in Pakistan are taught to fix cell phones, our curricula still refer to the sending and receipt of telegrams.

We saw last year that numerous examination papers only arrived at examination centres after the due date for the examinations. The late release of examination results has become the norm, resulting in students not knowing whether they should register or study for the supplementary examinations.

Those that do pass, have to wait for years to receive their certificates from the department. The Minister seems oblivious to how serious the situation is. The department is constantly passing the buck and blaming the colleges for the department’s mismanagement.

DA run governments are, in contrast to this, recognised for their good administrative practices. Accountability will ensure that the problems that I referred to earlier, be addressed.

A DA run department of Higher Education would make sure that TVET colleges received the necessary support they need. We would align the pass requirements and level of the NCV with that of the National Senior Certificate examinations.

Pass and through-put rates would form part of the performance assessment of college principal’s work.

The out-dated NATED or N-programmes’ curricula would be thoroughly overhauled, and we would undertake a critical assessment of the costs and practicability of the trimester system.

The college councils would be given freedom to develop their own organograms within approved staff budgets, in order to attract lecturers with the necessary qualifications and to provide for local challenges.

The TVET colleges would be assisted to improve their images with prospective employers, while employers would be incentivised to partner with public colleges for workplace-based training.

Chairperson, as you can see, the dream of South Africa as a learning nation is “alive and well” in the DA.

I thank you.