KZN Community Education and Training College on governance, administration, teaching and learning and related matters

Higher Education, Science and Innovation

04 November 2022
Chairperson: Ms N Mkhatshwa (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


Budget Review & Recommendations Reports BRRR

The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Community Education and Training (CET) college, its Student Representative Council (SRC), as well as the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation (DHET) briefed the Committee in a virtual meeting. The KZN CET briefed the Committee on governance; administration; teaching and learning, and related matters.

The SRC took Members through SRC elections; portfolios; structures supporting SRC; 2022 programme of action; role of higher health; capacity building in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET); and sports activities.

The Department, in its CET skills summit brief, highlighted issues related to infrastructure; funding; information and communication technology (ICT); funding; partnerships; capacity building; Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL); civic education; as well as the implementation and operational plan.

Members asked questions about partnerships with other relevant stakeholders, especially regarding the utilisation of infrastructure or facilities; finalisation of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs); protocols with the Department of Basic Education (DBE); the supply-chain manager vacancy at the KZN CET College; outreach programmes of the SRC; stabilisation of staffing at CET colleges; ICT capacity, funding and infrastructure; and the capacity building of lecturers.

Meeting report

The Chairperson welcomed everyone and said two Community Education and Training (CET) colleges, one from Gauteng and one from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), would brief the Committee.

The resolutions the Committee made in the Mid-term review showed how alarming it was to only have interacted with one CET college from the Northern Cape. Members decided to start inviting more CET colleges, which would be the first step to strengthening the oversight function of the CET programme.

Briefing by the KwaZulu-Natal CET College
Dr Zanele Buthelezi, Chairperson, KZN CET College Council, said the College has a fully constituted Council. The Council works well with management, and although the province has been plagued by numerous challenges, the College is growing despite this. The Council is also satisfied with its progress in forging partnerships with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), Non-government Organisations (NGOs), and other relevant stakeholders. The funding from the National Skills Fund (NSF) is appreciated, but more is required to address the challenges the College faces.

Dr Sibusiso Mthethwa, Principal, KZN CET College, took Members through the presentation, which included the White Paper on Post School Education and Training (PSET); KwaZulu-Natal College footprint; enrolments; learning area performance; programme diversification; partnerships; pilot centres; governance; college flagship projects; marketing and advocacy work and infrastructure challenges.

[See attached presentation for more details]

Briefing by the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the KwaZulu-Natal CET College
Ms Nombuso Mafuleka, Deputy Secretary-General (DSG), SRC, took Members through the presentation, which included SRC elections; portfolios; structures supporting src; 2022 programme of action; role of higher health; capacity building in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET); and sports activities.

The SRC arranged a sports day commemorating Youth Day, which was hosted on 16 June 2022. The Central SRC wanted this day to be celebrated by students from different districts coming together and participating in different sports codes, as part of the extramural activity and wellness of students. Central SRC encouraged students to participate in sports activities by availing themselves to play at least one sports code. Students living with disabilities were also encouraged to participate in any of the sports.

Briefing by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation on the CET Summit
Ms Thembisa Futshane, Deputy Director-General (DDG): CET Programme; DHET, presented the CET Skills Summit resolutions progress report, which covered issues related to infrastructure; funding; Information and Communication Technology (ICT) funding; partnerships; capacity building; Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL); Civic Education; as well as the implementation and operational plan.

The progress report on infrastructure highlighted the reprioritisation of R1 billion, which will be redirected from interest income earned from universities’ infrastructure, to fund the CET colleges’ Infrastructure Programme. A concept document for the CET Colleges Infrastructure Programme (CET CIP) has been developed, and an Infrastructure Plan is being developed to address the infrastructure needs per College.

On 2 August 2022, senior managers at Head of Education Departments Committee (HEDCOM) addressed the use of the Department of Basic Education (DBE) schools’ facilities. The Director-General (DG), Deputy Director-General (DDG) CET, DBE DG, and Provincial Education Departments (PED) Heads of Departments (HoDs) were present. Protocols on the use of DBE schools expired on 31 March 2022. Requests for the renewal of protocols were sent to PEDs in November 2021. To date, three PEDs have signed the protocols, namely the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and the North West. On 2 August 2022 at HEDCOM, PEDs agreed all unsigned protocols would be attended to, and PEDs pledged its continued infrastructure-sharing support for CET colleges.

CET colleges submitted proposals to the National Skills Fund on the R200 million allocation, as announced by the Minister at the Summit. The proposals were submitted in line with the funding framework provided by the NSF. The Colleges have been provided with NSF Award Letters. NSF and CET colleges are in the contracting phase.

On ICT funding, the Minister issued gazettes for the provision of ICT infrastructure by SENTECH, and the provision of connectivity by RAIN, to take place in January 2022 to 63 CET college sites, nine head offices, and 54 pilot centres, effected through the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). ICASA and SENTECH are conducting readiness visits to CLS, starting with MP and NW.

[See attached presentation on ICT initiatives, RPL, and Civic Education]

On capacity building, a draft Lecturer Development Master Plan (LDMP) has been developed through consultation with all colleges and key stakeholders. Education, Training and Development Practices (ETDP) SETA is a major funder of lecturer development programmes, including bursaries for university studies. NSF has a substantial allocation of R200 million, which was made for capacity-building programmes of CET colleges.

The Chairperson said the issue around funding in the CET programme is of serious concern and the Committee must elevate it to National Treasury. When Members debate the reports in the House, it is important to sing in one tune. During Covid-19, this programme did not receive any support, especially the issue on lecturers and management. The Committee has not done enough to support the programme.

Ms J Mananiso (ANC) agreed all political parties involved in the Committee must carry the same message regarding the funding for the CET programme. She appreciated KZN CET college for forming partnerships with other stakeholders. However, she wanted to know if the CET has one standard for Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) signed with partners, or if there are different processes for those MOUs.

She asked how long the finalisation process for MOUs with the DBE will take, specifically referring to the KZN CET college utilising DBE schools as facilities, and said it is quite clumsy there is no DBE MOU.
She also asked how soon the Supply Chain Manager (SCM) will be appointed; asked who is currently authorising the SCM transactions if the manager position is vacant; asked if the College does survey checks to ascertain where its student population comes from within the provinces; and said at times, outreach programmes are held but do not reach the intended cohort of the student population in the geographical areas where the College is situated.

The level four qualification was not given sufficient support by the programme, or even by the Department. This is one of the critical areas to support.

She asked the SRC if it had an outreach programme which specifically focused on recruitment for services provided by the College; asked if it has programmes in partnership with the management of the School; and asked if the SRC should align its outreach programmes with those of the local municipality and government agencies in the area. It must form partnerships with these stakeholders because those partnerships could assist with funding and resources. She asked if the SRC is intensifying its recruitment of students from within the province.

On the CET Summit report, she acknowledged the work done through this Summit. However, there is still more that needs to be done to strengthen the CET programme to address unemployment.

She asked the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) about the compensation of employees across the country; if there were any substantive challenges with this; and if those challenges were being addressed.

She asked what the terms of reference for the Ministerial Task Team were; and asked if these would assist Members if it was submitted to the Committee. This must be encompassed by the programme duration. The Committee cannot encourage establishing Task Teams with no timelines.

She asked the Department when the rest of the provinces signed the protocols. She asked what the Department is planning to do about the part of the meetings which were not complying with the meeting resolutions concerning signing the protocols. The consensus was achieved but there was no commitment from other provinces.

She asked if it was possible to expand the lobbying and advocacy programmes to other churches; and if the Department could reach out to all churches across the country to partner with it in utilising some of its infrastructure for local CET colleges.

Ms D Sibiya (ANC) said at Amajuba, the percentage was too low, but asked what strategy was used to recruit at the Centre. There are only two Centres, but she asked why it was too low in the Centre. As for communication with community structures, she asked which structures were being referred to.

Regarding the CET Summit, it was indicated the conditions of services are to be improved and there will be stabilisation of staffing; she asked if this meant the staffing was currently not stabilised.

Dr W Boshoff (FF Plus) said he was struck by the contagious inspiration from the KZN CET college, it seems to be something like what is going on in the Northern Cape. This inspiration from the two principals may be the reason why certain visions for CET are necessary to allow room for new thinking and approaches. The presentations today exhibited this spirit. The strong point of the CET programme is, not everything needs to be regulated because this produces a stifled learning environment. It means there is no room for innovation and making relevant things for the communities where the Centre’s located.

Ms D Mahlatsi (ANC) said the CET at KZN is led by doctors. This is heartwarming given the challenges faced by the CET programme. Concerning the recruitment at the CET college, she asked what the capacity of the institution was regarding accommodation for more learners. She asked what the capacity of the institution was versus the learners it has.

On ITC and modes of learning, she asked how the College is capacitated for ICT; what the mode of learning was, given the ICT challenges; which challenges related to ICT; and she asked what the College was doing to capacitate this function. She also asked which other programmes the Institution could accommodate; and if there are any futuristic programmes to enhance the work it is doing.

Regarding the capacity of lecturers, she asked what the ratio of learners is to lecturers; how capacitated the lecturers at the College are regarding qualifications; and how the Institution managed the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly regarding teaching and learning, considering its ICT challenges. On the governance structure, she asked if all structures of the Institution are capacitated; and if there are any vacancies currently. If there were, she asked what the plan was to fill those vacancies.

Part of the work Members try to do is not create problems for any Institution within the sector, but it is important the SRCs are able to highlight the challenges experienced by the students. It would have been important to flag the major challenges faced by the SRC.

Concerning commitments made by the Department during the Summit, there must be more effort made on Infrastructure programmes, and the sector must operate optimally and efficiently, with clear timelines of targets. She was concerned about the allocation of funding for infrastructure, and asked when the Department was planning to achieve its commitments, given the shortfalls. The engagements with the DBE must be enhanced, and where there are shortfalls, she asked how and when they would be resolved. She also asked if the Ministers’ have met to show support for this project seeing the light of day.

She asked for the preliminary budget, which was presented across the country, as per the needs of different CETs. It will give Members a picture of how much each College will receive. A broad financial analysis of spending by CET colleges should also be considered and provided.

The Chairperson was also trying to understand the demographics of the College and its geospatial situation. One would want to understand what informs the decisions around the number of satellite centres in a certain area. A region like Umzinyathi and its size, could be just as big as Umkhanyakude, yet it does not have as many satellite centres. She asked if an analysis had been made to ascertain if sufficient centres could be established to service the population numbers in different regions. This matter could be similar to the Northern Cape, and she asked if there were regions which were too spacious, where people had to travel long distances to get to certain centres. She also asked if there were any similar challenges at the KZN CET college.

Regarding performance, the KZN CET seems to be the best-performing CET college as far as the overall pass percentage goes. It was inspiring listening to the principal and the SRC. The Chairperson said the SRC must bring the Members into its confidence regarding its strong relationship with management, and other relevant structures of the College. She asked if the SRC was included in the work management was planning; asked what some of the difficulties were experienced by the College and the SRC; and said Members would like to have a greater sense of the College’s weaknesses and strengths from the SRC’s point of view. This could be provided to the Committee at a later stage, and it must also detail how the SRC would play a role in assisting the Institution in its performance.

Partnerships within the community seemed healthy. The Chairperson asked if the CET managed to work with other Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges or universities nearby. Collaboration across the Post School Education and Training (PSET) system was very important. She encouraged the local TVET colleges and other CET colleges nearby to come on board and work collaboratively through sharing resources.

She was concerned about educators who were earning from DBE and DHET. This situation was unacceptable, especially with the high unemployment rate in the country. It needs to be addressed. The Committee will play its role in supporting the College in this.

There must be a way to solicit donations for infrastructure and building. Public Works could be engaged to play its part in releasing unutilised infrastructure, which could be used for CET colleges.

Ms Futshane replied that the protocols between the schools are signed by the heads of departments of the respective provinces and the DG. Once the protocol is in place, the School and the College can enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) based on the overall protocol. This process started in November, and the reason for the meeting in August was that provinces had not signed the protocols despite numerous attempts. Therefore, DHET took the opportunity to go to HEADCOM, where it would hear the concerns and why the protocols were not signed. There was overwhelming support. Since the meeting, DHET has been pushing for the signing of these protocols.

She asked for some time to discuss the matter further with the DG, as the heads of departments and the DG of DBE agreed. Follow-ups were made, but colleges found it difficult to get into agreements if these protocols were not signed.

The information on partnerships with SETAs for all colleges, would be provided to the Committee.

The advocacy work with faith-based organisations is not selective. The plan is to work with all these organisations and those operating in communities and get funding from the NSF.

All the principals attended the meeting which dealt with awards of NSF letters, except the two from the Western Cape and Free State CET colleges. While no college has been rejected, only six award letters were issued out of the nine. Those which were not issued were the Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Gauteng CET colleges. The reasons were provided. DHET met with all these colleges and highlighted the areas which needed to be corrected. This will be processed further for NSF and DG approval.

She welcomed the recommendation regarding recruiting 1 500 students, especially for students with disabilities and those with albinism.

The Implementation Plan by the Task Team will be finalised when the Task Team meets for the first time. It will be availed after the meeting, but the approval remains to be finalised. The meeting for the Task Team can be set up now.

Regarding the stabilisation of staff as decided in the resolutions of the Summit, she said the standardisation process for lecturers was good because there are lecturers who have been in the sector for more than 20 years, but on the last month of service, the lecturers received a salary for the last month of service and nothing else.

With the standardisation process of conditions of service, lecturers are now eligible to get a pension, funeral cover, medical aid, and housing allowances, and they can be paid according to qualifications. Some lecturers in some provinces were not getting these benefits but were getting 37% cash in lieu of these benefits. When the standardisation process was implemented, the cash these lecturers were receiving was redirected to benefits, and net income was reduced. This led to protests by lecturers. There was a balance in December, when the Department paid lecturers according to qualifications.
Outstanding caused grievances among lecturers, but human resources was handling it. The majority of colleges and lecturers stabilised, but there were still matters in court in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape. The lecturers in the Western Cape won a case against the Department because the correction of these salaries, in relation to qualifications, was backdated to 1 October 2021. Lecturers wanted it backdated to 2015, when lecturers migrated from various provinces to DHET. Labour law says a case can only go back three years from lodgement. Therefore, the court awarded the financial incentive to be dated three years back.

There was an active court case in the Eastern Cape. It was here where the lecturers were not paid 37% cash in lieu of benefits. Lecturers were demanding the money be paid. The matter is in court because there is an impasse between what the government is saying and the lecturers.

Not everything needs to be regulated; however, in the presentation, the reference to Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) is not about qualifications or accreditations. The reference was made by the Summit to say there are funds redirected from SETAs to QCTO in the form of levies. The Summit said the same mechanisms must be used to get funding for CET colleges. It is a long and legislated process that the Department is busy with.

There are no vacancies in the governance structure and the colleges run their own capacity development programmes for councils. DHET also runs these programmes, in addition to other meetings held with it. The last one was held in September, and the next one is scheduled for January.

The Infrastructure Budget is out of the hands of the Department. It has pushed as hard as it could. The funding was identified, and painful discussions were held for the University branch to let go of R1 billion of interest earned. It was also harder to convince universities to let go of those funds, to be redirected to the CET programmes. This hurdle was won, all documents were submitted to Treasury and all processes were followed. The DHET was now awaiting feedback. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) follows up with Treasury on this regularly.

DBE engagements will be elevated to the DG, and he will advise the way forward. Perhaps the issue of protocols could be elevated to the Minister as well.

The “double-parkers” were not acceptable. This is driven at college level. The KZN CET college has decreased those numbers significantly. The DHET will assist the CET college in ensuring any backlog concerning this is cleared.

KZN CET College
Dr Mthethwa replied that the Department's support has been helpful in coming up with one MOU covering all KZN schools. This strategic partnership from head of department to head of department was very helpful. There are spatial MOUs regarding certain facilities which have cost implications related to water, lights, and cleaning services. There are MOUs which have been signed with specific schools.

The College improvised by using expertise on SCM transactions, which came from interns, but these interns were capacitated first. The SCM manager post must be filled soon, as not doing so would affect the Institution and its audit outcomes. There were risks involved but management intended to minimise it. Currently, there was no alternative. Some capacity was sourced from service providers.

Regarding the capacity of the Institution concerning enrolments, there were tests and staff allocations for each programme. The former is a challenge because of mass skill provisioning, but the capacity of staff was aligned to formal education, even the training plan was shifting to ensure it aligned to the College. In the long run, the College could gradually move towards this. The training plan and targeting were aligned with this. The short-term initiative was, through SETA funding, the College could provide skills through service providers. However, with any MOU with service providers, there must be some element of skills transfer to the lecturers.

The College had initiatives to capacitate its population; most of this went well and was extensive. The Minister appointed no Council members.

The capacitation of lecturers took place internally. However, ICT remained a big challenge because of funding. The College submitted 250 lecturer names. If the target was not reached, the strategy would focus on pilots first, and any other centres.

Management tried to ensure the SRC was capacitated with leadership abilities. This was done. It may not have been enough as yet, but it was an ongoing initiative. Management has done the little it could do to work with the SRC.

The College partnered with the University of Florida to host an international student on how to learn to speak isiZulu. The College is also aiming at partnering with various institutions, such as the Department of Health and the private sector, to educate people on basic communication in isiZulu.

The ratio of lecturers is currently 1:20 but this ratio may be skewed towards the lecturers, more the lecturers than the students.

The College was the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic because the lecturer and student cohort are not ICT oriented. The numbers dropped drastically. Dr Mthethwa said he co-authored a book with one of the lecturers, and they addressed this matter in one of the chapters. He said he would make it available to the Committee. The efforts of collaborations helped in handling evictions and other Covid-19-related issues. It minimised the impact as a result.

The Council of the College is fully constituted.

The recruitment strategies of communication have been enhanced, but the new interventions use radio and other communication platforms such as social media and newspapers. However, the legacy of migration played a role in the numbers and centres per district, and left an impact. No new centres have opened since migration. The impact of the centres still exists, and the College still relies on this. Management does not want to be confined to the number on migration, and the College must be seen to be responsive. People want to see impact and colleges which will respond to people’s needs. This also ties in with the cohort of lecturers who are fit for the purpose.

The “double parkers” have been a brutal fight. The Department came from having 3 000 to 98 currently. Even if it allowed this to continue, it was only up to the point that a replacement could be found. People could not be stopped at the cost of the students. The centre managers being permanently appointed would eliminate these issues. The Department could not stop the centre managers as it would collapse the centres. The environment was very fragile.

The Chairperson said the reflection on the challenges and strengths of students at the College had to be submitted to the SRC in writing.

Mr R Mchunu, Provincial Coordinator: SRC, said the College Principal already covered a lot. Infrastructure issues remained a serious challenge, as did evictions from DBE schools, but the College had made strides in forming partnerships with the school principals. The SRC went as far as interacting with the School Governing Bodies (SGBs) to avoid these evictions. The Committee should intervene to speed up the signing of MOUs, as it seemed to be dragging.

The SRC also cited the issue of the certification rate for GC Level Four, which was a big challenge, and it asked the Committee to assist in dealing with this matter. Students wrote exams but did not get certificates issued timeously.

It would also be appreciated if the Committee could interact with the municipality on the minimum requirements for job opportunities in local municipalities, specifically where these colleges were located. The qualification requirements must consider the GC Level Four qualifications students obtain from the CET college.

On the outreach programmes, the majority of these SRC members also belonged to the structures in the communities. The Chairperson of the district level was also part of the youth structure in the community, which makes it easier for the SRC to engage and reach out to those communities. The College took the initiative to visit the community and handed out food parcels and other necessities. There was also a memorial service held. There were 11 districts, and the SRC decided to have an event at Umzinyathi for sporting activities, which required the SRC to conduct a state of readiness and engage other structures and the office of the Mayor. This evidenced that the CET college was for the community and worked for the community. Sixteen buses were made available for this sporting event.

Dr Mthethwa said the College's management established the Provincial Coordinator position to enhance and strengthen support for the SRC. Administratively, it worked very well, and was supported with all ICT-related equipment.

The Chairperson thanked the CET college for its fruitful engagement. As a first-time engagement, the Committee was committed to inviting more CET colleges. The challenges as far as resources went were acknowledged, but it would take some time to overcome those challenges.

Consideration of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR)

The reports were amended and adopted.

The meeting was adjourned.


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