Blade intervenes in TVET crisis after shutdown threat

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has instructed his department to convene a technical vocational education and training (TVET) forum to create a open‚ frank‚ quick and effective channel of communication.

He said this ongoing forum seeks to bring students representatives‚ college administrators as well as senior officials from his ministry to the table.

The minister said he has also requested his director-deneral‚ Gwebinkundla Qonde‚ to set up an intervention task team to speed up the process of current initiatives being implemented to improve the quality of teaching and learning at TVET colleges.

“…We recently received a list of grievances from the body representing TVET students. We take this list and the students’ body very seriously‚” he said.

Last week‚ the SA Further Education and Training Students Association (Safetsa) threatened to shut down 50 of the country’s colleges‚ and called for the department to intervene in the critical issues the sector was grappling with.

It cited weak leadership‚ corruption‚ unqualified lecturers‚ lack of certification and student support as factors that have collapsed the sector.

“There is nothing in the memorandum we have received from Safetsa that cannot be resolved with a bit of goodwill and determination by the TVET colleges‚ of course supported by the DHET‚” he said.

Speaking in Pretoria on Thursday‚ Nzimande invited students to be part of this effort to get things right.

He said the government’s commitment to the higher education cause is demonstrated in part by the substantial increases in funding to National Student Financial Aid Scheme since 2010.

“We remain committed to finding the resources to support the children of all poor‚ working-class and middle-class families in their quest to better their lives and those of their families through skills acquisition‚” Nzimande said.