University of Free State and Public Entities Committee Reports: adoption

Basic Education

07 November 2005
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Meeting report

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 November 2005
UNIVERSITY OF FREE STATE AND PUBLIC ENTITIES COMMITTEE REPORTS: ADOPTION

Chairperson: Prof S Mayatula (ANC)

Documents handed out:
University of Free State Committee Report
Public Entities Committee Report

SUMMARY
The Chairperson proposed that the Further Education & Training Colleges’ report be adopted the following week as the reports from KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape had not been received. The reports from Gauteng and Limpopo had been received. The University of Free State report was adopted with minor technical changes. Members were concerned about the transformation of top management and the challenges that mergers of tertiary institutions posed.

The Education Laws Amendment Bill Report was adopted as a ‘true reflection of what had transpired’.

The Public Entities’ reports were adopted with a few minor technical adjustments. Members were concerned about the policy issues of certain entities and felt that the Committee should follow this up with the entities in future. They were concerned about the allocation of surplus funds to entities at the end of the financial year when these entities would not be able to use these funds.


MINUTES
The Chairperson proposed that the Further Education & Training (FET) Colleges’ report be adopted the following week as the reports from KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape had not been received.

University of Free State Report
Mr B Mosala (ANC) commented that the report encompassed the gist of what had transpired in the meeting.

Minor technical adjustments were made to the recommendations.

Ms M Mentor (ANC) observed that top management comprised of two blacks with the rest being white. Top management reflected Model C schools where white students received academic awards while black students received awards for sport. The observation in the report was thus adjusted to ‘Top management is predominantly white and does not reflect the composition of the university community’.

Ms Mentor remarked that the heritage of the community was sometimes lost during institutional mergers. Mr G Boinamo (ANC) concurred saying that North West University had become ‘Potchefied’. He added that communities suffered the consequences. Students resided with families, because they could not afford the residence fees. Ms Mentor reflected that the problem had been experienced at other institutions as well. The Committee needed to review the issue of mergers.

Education Laws Amendment Bill
Mr Gaum (DA) moved that the Bill be adopted. The Committee adopted the Bill as a ‘true reflection of what had transpired’.

Public Entities’ Reports
The Chairperson felt that the Education Labour Relations Council’s (ELRC) report should be included, because the ELRC had completed their report, but had not yet referred their report to the Committee at the time of the hearings. The adjustment would read ‘Based on referrals, the Portfolio Committee on Education had invited five entities referred to above, but also had public hearings on the ELRC report which had not yet been referred to the Committee’.

Mr Gaum proposed the adoption of the report and was seconded by Mr Mosala.

The Chairperson said that the chief executive officers of UMALUSI, the South African Council for Educators (SACE) and the South Africa Qualifications Authority (SAQA) would be meeting about the problem affecting FET colleges the following day.

Mr I Vadi (ANC) noted that the tour to Ghana and Mali should be removed from the conclusions and recommendations.

Ms Mentor commented that the role of the Portfolio Committee was one of policy formulation. She remarked that one of the primary roles of SAQA was to recognise prior learning. This aspect had serious implications for the economy and FET colleges. She was concerned about the issue. She recommended that the Committee engage SAQA about this matter in future hearings.

The Chairperson said that UMALUSI had wanted to implement certain functions, but that they could not do so because of a budget shortfall. This was an important issue on which the Committee had not made any recommendations.

Mr Vadi added that a R5.1 million surplus had been given to UMALUSI at the end of the financial year. He questioned how the Department expected to spend it and whether this was ‘bad planning’ by UMALUSI or the Department.

Ms Mentor concurred with Mr Vadi. She asked where the issue should be addressed in the budget cycle. The procedure was that a needs analysis should be done, objectives conceptualised, a programme implemented and then money should be requested on that basis. Did UMALUSI plan for it? Public entities always complained about too little money.

Mr Gaum clarified that the Committee had asked UMALUSI about the issue and they had responded. The Committee had not challenged their explanation at the time.

Mr N Godi (PAC) requested that the Committee get more information from UMALUSI. Ms Mentor concurred.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee needed a report from the CEOs. Did the Committee propose a time frame within which to receive this report? The Committee proposed February 2006.

The meeting was adjourned.

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