Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students across the country have threatened to completely shutdown all 265 institutions if the education minister fails to grant their request.
Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande is reported to be in agreement with the TVET students over series of protracted unresolved issues and the protesting students warned that if he fails to fulfil them, they will forcefully hut down all institutions in the country.
Speaking on this, the South African Further Education and Training Student Association (SAFETSA) deputy leader, Joel Mamabolo said weak leadership‚ corruption‚ unqualified lecturers‚ and a lack of certification and student support have collapsed the sector and students are ready to take serious actions against it.
“In our first meeting with the minister we were promised that these issues will be addressed and they were never addressed.” said Mamabolo who noted that the issues date as far back as 2012.
Mamabolo also noted that in its second meeting, the association was promised that there would no longer be any pending results but they are still facing the same problem.
“The principals of the colleges continue to do as they please because no one is holding them accountable,” he said,
“They are still misusing NSFAS money because they are still keeping allocation money for transport and accommodation within the account of the college. They are not dispersing it to the students or returning it back to NSFAS.”
“We have been patient and lenient since 2013 trying to persuade college management and the higher education and training department‚ hoping that we can as a collective work together to sort these issues out‚” TVET noted.
Similarly, Yonke Twani‚ the association’s president‚ told journalists in Pretoria said the TVET colleges sector have been struggling with delays in the release of results and certificates since 2012‚ with no explanation. This, according to him, was also coupled by insufficient student funding‚ an outdated curriculum that was not aligned to the country’s skills needs as well as the lack of expansion to boost enrolment.
“The future of young people in the (TVET) space is at risk. We are saying it is at risk because many young people who exited the colleges between 2010-2014 have not received their certificates‚” he said.
“We are not going to tamper with property during our programme of action because we are going to need these institutions when our programme becomes a success‚” he said.
Mani Hulisani‚ the association’s chairperson‚ summed it all by saying that the university students are fighting for more funding for the colleges. “But what is the point because these funds will be mismanaged by councils. They must be taken to task for their squandering of the funds‚” he asked.