Education Training and Development Practices Sector Education Training Authority & HWSETA on their Annual Performance Plan, with Deputy Minister

Higher Education, Science and Technology

17 May 2017
Chairperson: Ms C September (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Education Training and Development Practices Sector Education Training Authority (ETDP SETA) on its Annual performance Plan

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training met to receive the briefings from the Education Training and Development Practices Sector Education Training Authority (ETDPSETA) and the Health and Welfare Sector Education Training Authority (HWSETA) on their annual performance plans (APP) for 2017/18 and strategic plans for 2015/16- 2019/20. The team was led by the Deputy Minister who indicated that the Strategic Plans and the APPs of ETDPSETA and HWSETA had been approved and were being implemented.

Briefing by ETDP SETA on its APP

During the 2016/17 financial year a total of R825 million was budgeted but this amount was reduced by 4% in the 2017/18 financial year as a result of the contributions received from the Department of Education. Income trends of the agency showed an increase of about 6% due to the salary bill of employers who paid levies to the agency and the agency had three types of expenditure: administrative, mandatory grant and discretionary grant expense.

Challenges faced by the agency were inadequate capacity of training providers, longer program durations, high dropout rates for unemployed learners, prolonged recruitment process by employers, the high failure rate of first year students on bursaries and competing priorities from the agency’s constituencies.

The Committee had a robust discussion and the ETDPSETA was asked to state, how it would change the negative perception that SETAs were generally corrupt; if it had put in place any selection process in selecting students for bursaries; if it had a mechanism that ensured that the students that received bursaries were the ones that would not fail and how it was identified that unemployed youths were put in the right program. Members wanted to know about the strategies to address the high failure rate of first year students.

Committee Members wanted to know if all departments and political organisations were paying the 30% levies, why there was a 50% increase in expenditure between 2015/16 and 2017/18 and why it expended over R62 million for goods and services.

Health and Welfare Sector Education Training Authority (HWSETA) on its APP

The HWSETA indicated that it had achieved three successive clean audits and highlighted the projects implemented, the qualifications supported, the employed and unemployed learnerships in the 2016/17 financial year, the budget support for 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20, the situational analysis of the HWSETA and the successful projects that the agency had undertaken in the past two years.

The challenges of the agency were the downturn in economic conditions that reduced ultimate impact of employment, employers that did not meet the conditions of funding, compromise of training quality by unaccredited training providers, impact of the limitations of basic education on the success of higher education, uneven participation across and within provinces and the significant amount of unfunded posts in government.

The Committee observed that the HWSETA had analysed its own skills plan by itself and asked the HWSETA how it had analysed its own skill plans without involving consultants. The agency was asked to state the uniqueness of its work, clarify if its work was a duplication of any other agencies work in DHET, state the level of coordination it had with the ETDPSETA and state the relationship between its strategic planning document and that of the Department of Health (DoH).

The Committee also asked the agency to explain why it gave qualifications on religion and to elaborate on what was taught in the religion qualification. Members wanted to know about the intervention efforts to resolve the situation at the University of Limpopo’s medical school; updates on its visibility in each province and state how the agency ensured that the artisans received employment in hospitals.

Meeting report

The Chairperson recognised the presence of the Deputy Minister for Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), Mr Nduduzi Manana. The purpose of the meeting was to receive briefings from the Education Training and Development Practices Sector Education Training Authority (ETDP SETA) and the Health and Welfare Sector Education Training Authority (HWSETA) on their Annual Performance Plans (APPs) for 2017/18 and 2015/16- 2019/20 Strategic Plans.

Foreword by the Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister said he had to attend a Cabinet meeting and asked for permission to leave the meeting early. The Strategic Plans and APP’s of ETDP SETA and HWSETA had been approved and were being implemented but the team from both agencies would present a brief and address the questions of the Committee.

The Chairperson indicated that the Board Chairperson of ETDP SETA had sent her apologies and a board member Mr Sipho Khuzwayo would stand in for the Board Chairperson.

Mr Sipho Khuzwayo introduced the members of his team which included the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Nombulelo Nxesi and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mr Moses Katende.

ETDPSETA briefing on its Annual Performance Plan

Ms Nombulelo Nxesi, CEO, ETDP SETA, highlighted the process of developing the Strategic Plans and the oriented goals and the programs that responded to the goals. She also highlighted the performance indicators and budgets in each of the programs. She remarked that the agency was not engaged in wasteful spending, was not corrupt and could account for all the funds allocated to it.

Mr Moses Katende, CFO, ETDP SETA, said the organisation was guided by the by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and the agency could not budget for a deficit or surplus hence the total income was equal to the total expenditure. During the 2016/17 financial year a total of R825 million was budgeted but this amount was reduced by 4% in the 2017/18 financial year as a result of the contributions received from the Department of Education. He indicated that the income trends of the agency showed an increase of about 6% due to the salary bill of employers who paid levies to the agency and highlighted the reasons for total increase in revenue. He stated that the agency had three types of expenditure: administrative, mandatory grant and discretionary grant expense. He highlighted the expenditure trends and illustrated the commitment schedule of the agency.

Ms Nxesi remarked that the challenges faced by the agency were inadequate capacity of training providers, longer program durations, high dropout rates for unemployed learners, prolonged recruitment process by employers, the high failure rate of first year students on bursaries and competing priorities from the agency’s constituencies.

Discussion

Mr E Siwela (ANC) observed that the ETDPSETA indicated that it was not corrupt and could account for all the funds allocated to the agency. He asked ETDPSETA to state how it would change the perception that Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs) were generally corrupt. He also asked ETDP SETA to explain the kind of services provided under the line item ‘other’ as captured in the expenditure estimates of the APP. Furthermore, he asked ETDP SETA to clarify why the payments for machineries and equipment increased from R2 million in 2016/17 to R10 million in the 2017/18 financial year and indicate what work its consultants performed.

Dr B. Bozzoli (DA) asked whether ETDP SETA did not duplicate the duties of supporting Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), teacher training and universities funding carried out by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). She asked if the organisation had put in place any selection process in selecting students for bursaries, explain why it used consultants to carry out its labour market analysis and state if it had a mechanism that ensured that the students that received bursaries were the ones that would not fail courses in higher Institutions.

Mrs J Kilian (ANC) asked how the agency identified that unemployed youths were put in the right program and give the strategies to address the high failure rate of first year students. She also asked the agency to elaborate on the coordination between DHET and SETAs, give updates on unemployment research and state if it had impact assessments on progress of students that had received bursaries from ETDP SETA after graduation.

Mr A Van der Westhuizen (DA) asked the agency to explain why it had a total of R343 million in expenses in its 2015/16 financial years. He asked what strategies were used to address early childhood education and he also asked why the agency needed to carry out unnecessary expenses of bursary payments for student that failed examinations in the first year.

Ms M Nkadimeng (ANC) commended the agency for its clean audit and for being a ‘corruption free’ SETA. She asked if all departments and political organisations were paying the 30% levies and why there was a 50% increase in expenditure between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

Ms S Mchunu (ANC) appreciated the ETDP SETA for skilling teachers in the education sector and asked why it expended over R62 million for goods and services.

The Chairperson asked how the ETDP SETA received support from DHET on employability and what strategies were used give bursaries, learnerships and internships according to the National Development Goals.

Responses:

Mr Sipho Khuzwayo, Board member, ETDP SETA, responded and said the agency received feedbacks on its achievement from society and consistently engaged with society on the programs it provided.

Ms Nxesi replied that the Committee could engage with SETAs to deal with any inconsistencies in the agency to ensure that SETAs were not classified as corrupt. The high amount expended on consultancy was allocated to research chairs appointed at universities. The funds allocated to the research chairs included pay-outs for masters and PhD programs, equipment and software licences. The consultants are professionals in the sector and they worked on behalf of the country and agency. The approval of strategic plans and APP’s go through a long process and are tabled at Parliament before approval. Although the agency was not mandated to give student bursaries, it engaged with NSFAS on student bursaries to avoid duplication because ETDP SETA had to assist students to ensure that unemployed people are skilled. The agency is in constant communication with its students and the students signed contracts with the agency. The recruitment of students was undertaken by the employer and constituency that fund the agencies according to standard criteria while the agency confirmed, guided and paid bursaries to students. The ETDP SETA engaged with Imbizos, but it did not advertise because it was in touch with its constituencies and placed information on its websites. The agency was engaging with universities to work out a better tutor support program to assist first years and ensure that the first year failure rate was reduced. The reports on monitoring and evaluation are been collated and would be presented to the Committee when it was completed.

Mr Katende indicated that the template used by ETDP SETA was provided by Treasury and did not allow for much explanation hence line items were not explained. It also did not allow the agency to show how expenses were funded. The 50% increase in expenditure from 2015/16 and 2017/18 financial years were as a result of expenses on consultants and ICT. The commitment disclosure was a requirement by the Accountant-General and it was also a contingent liability that may or may not happen based on the situation and it showed that the entity was a going concern.

The Chairperson appreciated the ETDPSETA for its presentation, discharged the team from ETDPSETA and invited the Board Chairperson of HWSETA to brief the Committee.

HWSETA on its Annual Performance Plan

Dr Confidence Moloko, Board Chairperson, HWSETA, said the board was in its second year and the agency had achieved three successive clean audits.

Mrs Elaine Brass, Acting CEO, HWSETA, highlighted the projects implemented, the qualifications supported, the employed and unemployed learnerships in the 2016/17 financial year, the budget support for 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 and the situational analysis of the HWSETA. She highlighted the factors that influenced the strategic plan of the agency and the successful projects that the agency had undertaken in the past two years. She remarked that the limitations of the agency included limited budget as a result of levies received from the sector, the inflation rate and limited personnel and resources.

Discussion

Dr Bozzoli observed that the HWSETA had analysed its own skills plan and asked how the HWSETA had analysed its own skill plans without involving consultants. She asked the agency to state the uniqueness of its work and to clarify if its work was a duplication of any other agency’s work in DHET. She also asked the agency to state the relationship between its strategic planning document and that of the Department of Health (DoH) and give updates on its role in nursing quality training.

Ms Kilian asked the HWSETA to state the level of coordination it had with the ETDP SETA.

Mr C Kekana (ANC) asked the agency to explain why it gave qualifications on religion. He also asked the HWSETA to state its intervention efforts to resolve the situation at the University of Limpopo’s medical school and clarify if the nursing qualification was consistent with standardisation of main stream or private training qualifications. The agency had mentioned that it was supporting research and production of a medical plant in Transkei and he asked if the HWSETA had heard about a variety of tea grown in Sekhukhune in Limpopo.

Ms Nkadimeng asked the agency to clarify if it still gave bursaries to students that studied social development even though the Department of Social Development had financial constraints and also asked for the level of coordination between ETDP SETA and HWSETA.

Mr Van der Westhuizen said he supported the assistance that the agency gave to unemployed learners and he asked how the agency funded unemployed learnerships and attracted the right learners for learnerships. He also asked for clarity on the agency’s position on apprenticeship and the levies paid for funding learnerships by departments.

Ms Mchunu congratulated the HWSETA for achieving a clean audit. She asked for clarification on the figures in brackets under the qualifications supported by HWSETA. She also asked the agency to give updates on its visibility in each province and state how the agency ensured that the artisans received employment in hospitals where they could repair equipment.

Responses:

Mr Zukile Mvalo, Deputy Director-General: Skills Development, DHET, indicated that DHET had encouraged SETAs to in-source professionals for its skill development programs and assured the Committee that CEOs had a life cycle of five years. Apart from internal interventions on coordination the DHET had scheduled an international colloquium on coordination of the school post education and training system for 18 May 2017. The colloquium would develop the framework for policy on interaction and coordination of the post education and training system.

Dr Moloko responded and said that DHET and the Nursing Council had held meetings over common issues and there had been instances where a course was implemented without been approved for e.g. the National Certificate Vocational Health Care. The Ministers of Education Departments and Health had agreed that the issues would be dealt with by the departments in charge. The Chairpersons of Board SETAss had formed a forum to deal with issues of duplication and the report of the forum would be presented to the Committee. He noted the comment by Mr Kekana (ANC) about the tea grown in Sekhukhune and said HWSETA would report back to the Committee. The HWSETA was presently intervening on the accreditation issues being faced by the medical school of the University of Limpopo. The HWSETA had regular meetings in provinces where it engaged with stakeholders and made commitments to be more visible provincially.

Ms Brass replied that it was important for SETAs to strengthen its collaborations to ensure it remained relevant in the new era. The strategies were put in place to ensure the agency could source its professionals internally and remarked that social workers received support through bursaries. The agency trained unemployed learners, assisted the unemployed learners to get employed and subscribed to learnership models that allowed employers to choose people that were employable for learnerships. The possibility to cater for people living with disabilities existed within the sector and support for such learners was vital to HWSETA’s board members. The learnership programs of 30% theory and 70% practical allowed learners to be work ready. The levy contribution by provinces had been better during the current financial year. The agency had also been flexible with provinces since the increase of the levy from 10% to 30% hence the agency had allowed quarterly payments for some struggling provinces. The figures in brackets on the slide which showed qualifications supported by HWSETA were the National Qualification Framework (NQF) levels.

Ms Baakedi Motubatse, Executive Manager: Quality Assurance, HWSETA, responded and said religion qualifications fell within the mandates of HWSETA because the agency worked with social welfare organisations. She also indicated that the qualifications were Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) qualifications.

The Chairperson asked Ms Motubatse to elaborate on what was taught in the religion qualification.

Ms Motubatse indicated that the course dealt with religious issues and the students received training on how the agency carried out its social work.

Dr Moloko said the scope of the religious qualification was covered in the mandate of HWSETA.

Mr Sikhumbuzo Gcabashe, Executive Manager: Research Information Monitoring and Evaluation, HWSETA, indicated that the HWSETA had collaborations with the DoH and used the human resources for health documents but some of DoH statistics were old and were not updated annually. The HWSETA had extracted the annually updated work place skills plan (WPSP) document from the private sector and the Public Service Sector Education and Training Authority (PSSSETA) to give a perspective on the health sector. DHET has placed agencies in five clusters and the HWSETA in conjunction with the ETDP SETA and the other SETAs operating in the cluster met to consider WPSP reports. The Early Childhood Development (ECD) qualification was controlled by the ETD PSETA but HWSETA provided some of the funding for the ECD practitioners.

The Chairperson appreciated the HWSETA for the insightful presentations and discharged the team.

The meeting was adjourned.

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