Education and training Minister, Blade Nzimande says government’s plan to fund the TVET college system may fail due to lack of money.
The education minister said while responding to parliamentary questions, that government has spent more than expected, hence, in the absence of an increase in the baseline funding for enrolments at technical and vocational education and training colleges.
According to the minister, the education department would not achieve the targets set in the white paper. The department would therefore, have to adjust its enrollment targets from 2017 onwards to remain within budget.
The white paper for post-school education and training foretells expanding enrollments at colleges from about 700,000 to 2.5-million by 2030 to ease pressure on universities.
But, Nzimande said the department has an estimated shortfall of R10.7bn from R19.8bn required to service the TVET college system for the 2017-18 financial year. The estimated total shortfall over the 2017 period is about R43bn.
“In order to meet the target of 2.5-million enrollments by 2030, the system would require an additional programme funding allocation amounting to R60bn on top of the projected baseline amount of R13.5bn and an additional amount of R26.3bn on top of the projected baseline amount of R5.3bn for NSFAS [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] … For both the programme and NSFAS funding, the total projected additional budget required by 2030 amounts to R86.3bn,” Nzimande said.
Moreover, estimated cost of TVET colleges catering for 2.5-million enrolments by 2030 will require a minimum of 118 additional campuses at R67bn.
About 50 colleges are presently said to be operating on more than 264 campuses while 12 new TVET college campuses are still being constructed
The minister’s comment on lack of money to finance the College vocational training plan comes after the state’s Auditor general, Kimi Makwetu announced an alarming billions in irregular expenditure accumulated by State-owned enterprises.
Makwetu said in his report on national and provincial audit outcomes for the 2015-2016 year , that the irregular expenditure in 2015-2016 had increased by 80% since the previous financial year when national and provincial government departments had incurred R25.7-billion in irregular expenditure.
Irregular expenditure refers to spending on procurement of goods and services without following prescribed processes.
He blamed it on poor leadership and instability at board level, vacancies in key positions, inadequate consequence management and poor monitoring and oversight of procurement processes lead to weak leadership.