A group of students body representatives, as well as other important stakeholders in the higher education sector, met on Friday morning to discuss issues affecting students in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.
The event was organized by the South African Further Education and Training Student Association (SAFETSA) and it was the first of its kind to ever be held. Minister of Higher Education, Blade Nzimande, was meant to deliver a keynote address but was unable to make it to the event, which clashed with the SACP’s imbizo in Gauteng.
Standing in for Nzimande was Firoz Patel, who is the Department of Higher Education and Training’s deputy director general. Speaking to the audience, Patel said that backlogs in the issuing of diploma certificates, resource restrictions and a shortage of practical lecturers are among some of the pressing issues faced by this sector.
Patel’s resolutions to the challenges mentioned include working vigorously with Umalusi to accelerate these processes. He said the Budget Vote Speech 2017 focused a lot on TVET colleges and that he hopes that TVET will receive better funding for projects so that the lack of resources could be addressed.
He also said the sector needed practical lecturers and not academic ones as these are the ones currently predominant in the sector. “Imagine how great it would be for the students if they could come to school knowing that their lecturer has hands-on experience in the subject he is teaching. The students would feel more comfortable raising their issues because they would be sure that their teacher also has the same experience in that field,” he said.
Patel also added that more workshop and skills centers need to be built so that students could spend most of their time at these centers to gain practical industry experience, as opposed to always being in the classroom.
He said he would be happy if these issues would be addressed properly as the students are most affected and it’s normally the disadvantaged students that suffer the most.
Pulane Choane- Courant News