Draft Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Bill: Department briefing

Basic Education

05 September 2006
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Meeting report

060906pceduc(alleyne)

EDUCATION PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE AND NCOP SELECT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND RECREATION:  JOINT MEETING
6 September 2006
DRAFT FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING (FET) COLLEGES BILL: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING

Chairperson:   
Mr BJ Tolo (NCOP Select Committee on Education, ANC)
Co-Chair:         Prof S M Mayatula (PC Education, ANC)

Documents handed out:
Further Education and Training Colleges Bill [B23-2006]
Presentation on the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Bill

SUMMARY
The Committees were briefed by the Department on the Further Education and Training Colleges Bill. The Department explained that the Bill sought to increase the number of learners on programmes in these Colleges, which will ultimately lead to employment or higher education. The Department noted the quality of the programmes offered in the Colleges had to be improved and that steps would be taken, through the Bill, to transform the colleges in this regard. In determining priority skills programmes for South Africa, two questions need to be asked notably; what do employees want, and which sectors require skills. The Bill seeks to introduce flexible programmes to suit a wide range of needs. The Bill aims to provide legislative support for rapid skills development and it aims to protect learners and lecturers in the provision of high quality programmes.

The Committees were impressed by the detailed presentation but raised questions about the future of existing Colleges, repeal of the 1998 Further Education and Training Act, the roles of the national Minister of Education and provincial MECs, funding of the Colleges, the composition of Councils and Advisory Boards and distinctions between private and public Further Education and Training Colleges.

MINUTES

Department of Education Briefing
The Department of Education (DoE) presented the draft Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Bill. Mrs P Vinjevold (Deputy Director General: FET) explained that there were two important reasons for wanting to adopt the Bill by November 2006. Firstly, the Bill directly addresses the issue of skills development, halving poverty, and reducing unemployment. The Bill would therefore aide the Department in terms of programmes it intends to introduce in 2007. Secondly, the Department has been in extensive consultation on the preparation and contents of the Bill with the direct stakeholders (the colleges, the Provincial Education Departments, lecturers, and students) since April 2005.

The Department is trying to increase the number of learners in FET College programmes which it foresees will lead to employment or higher education opportunities for such learners. By increasing the number of students especially in
programmes that lead to higher education, the Department hopes to simultaneously address the issue of youth unemployment and provide skills for economic growth and social development. Currently, an imbalance exists in the Further Education and Training Programmes in that most developed countries have a larger vocational education programme provided by their Education and Training Colleges than Higher Education. The Department’s goal is to increase the number of learners in FET Colleges to one million learners by 2014. The current provision of FET Colleges is such that the programmes (especially the N1 to N6) have become outdated and have not lead to employment. Programmes have to both be modernised and made cognitively more demanding. The Colleges have already started to respond to other types of programmes and will continue to do so.

Enrolment in FET Colleges over the last five years has not only doubled but the race and gender profile of students has changed, and in race terms, this means that learners are much poorer than they have ever been before, often unemployed with no workplace experience. This change in profile has had extremely important consequences for student support and also for the way the programmes are funded. The Bill deals with a new funding formula. The Bill is the final and most important piece in the transformation of FET Colleges because it puts into legislation what the Department has had to simultaneously do in changing and developing new programmes. The new funding formula has also been finalised. This means that students will now pay between R2000 and R4000 a year per programme, but students in quintal one and two may be exempt from this. Each lecturer is also given R10 000 for their own development i.e. working in industry to improve their own understanding of responsiveness. The FET Bill speaks directly to the management and governance structures as well as staffing. The Bill seeks to make sure that the management, governance and staffing of FET Colleges responds to the expansion and flexible delivery of programmes. One of the ways in which the Department has ensured the transformation of the sector is by insisting on the registration and accreditation of existing private colleges. The Department has had 400 applications so far.

Since the Bill is tasking the Department to take FET Colleges to a new dimension, distinct from schools and universities, the Department has had to do three things in determining the priority skills programmes for FET Colleges in South Africa. Firstly, it has had to ask what will lead to employment and reduction of poverty. Secondly, the Department had to look at the sectors in the economy that had a shortage in skills and thirdly, the Department had to make sure that it offered programmes for a range of students from part-time to full-time students. Every one of the programmes offered has a math’s literacy, language and information technology component to make sure both young and old have the ability to quickly learn new skills. The Department has streamlined the number of programmes into 13 sectors according to the Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of SA (ASGISA). Each of these programmes has both a theoretical and a practical component. Ms Vinjevold noted the concern from the public around the difference between an apprenticeship, a learnership and a national certificate. It was noted that these programmes were heading in the same direction, all having a maths and science fundamental component, as well as theoretical and practical components.

It was explained that the FET Bill provides for the establishment, governance and funding of public FET Colleges. As far as the employment of staff is concerned, the Bill provides specifics on this and the transitional arrangements. It explains how the registration of private FET Colleges is done and for both sectors, it asserts a quality assurance mechanism. The Bill also gives attention to the transition arrangements. The Bill aims to provide the legislative support for rapid skills development, aiming to protect learners and lecturers in the provision of high quality programmes.

It was explained that communication with all the various stakeholders was first sought, the Bill then being put out for comment in the latter part of 2005, where it spent considerable time in the National Board for Further Education and Training where organised labour, business and the nine provinces are represented. It was then put out for public comment in May 2006. The Department has streamlined and amended the Bill in line with all comments received where they sought to improve the quality of the Bill.

Discussion

The Chair thanked the Department for the briefing, stating that it was very general. He asked the Deputy Director General (DDG) to go through the Bill chapter by chapter, as there were delegates present who would be expected to brief their provinces on the contents of the Bill.

The DDG obliged. Starting with the introduction to the Bill, she explained the applications and purpose of the Bill noting that many comments were received to the effect that the application and purpose of the Bill be made clear. It states that students must acquire knowledge, practical skills and applied vocational and occupational competence. The purpose of the Bill is also to separate out school offerings from College offerings.

Ms F Mazibuko (ANC, Gauteng) asked, with regard to the National Curriculum and schools mainstreaming, how the Bill would differentiate between the two (schools and FETs).

The DDG responded that there are two separate curricula, one for schools called a general education comprising of seven subjects, with two languages and maths literacy or maths education. This general curriculum leads to a National Senior Certificate and has no practical component. With the Colleges, the emphasis is on vocational education. There is mobility between them and what is common between them is the one language, mathematics or mathematical literacy and life orientation.

The Chair asked the Deputy Director General to briefly explain chapter 2 of the Bill.

Ms Vinjevold explained that Chapter 2 talks about how to go about establishing a public college. Chapter 2 sets out the procedures to be followed if an MEC wanted to establish another FET college such as publishing it in the Provincial Gazette. The section on the Merger of Public Colleges sets out the requirements necessary for a merger of Public Colleges. Subsequently, Section 7 looks at the possibility of establishing a single council for two or more public colleges. She noted that this was an unlikely possibility but should it be deemed necessary for two colleges to be governed by a single council, the Bill provides the MEC the opportunity to establish a single council for two or more colleges. Section 8 explains how an MEC must go about closing an FET college. Chapter two really deals with the unlikely event of a college being established, merged or closed.

The Chair asked if there were any questions of clarity surrounding Chapter 2 of the Bill.

Ms Mazibuko asked whether the Bill was proposing that a single council govern all branches of a college.

Ms Vinjevold responded that this was a different issue and that it would be taking two separate colleges and merging them. It was explained that there could be a college with many branches that is governed by one council.

She went on to explain Chapter Three of the Bill which sets out the governance structures of the Public Colleges, of which there are three main ones. The first is the Council, then the Academic Board and lastly the Student Representative Council. The Bill provides the composition and means of election of each of the governance structures. The Bill also allows the Council and Academic Board to establish additional committees as long as these are approved by the Council. The Council has to perform three main functions; being the strategic plan, the language policy, and ensuring that the College complies with the accreditation requirements. The College Council consists of both internal and external members. The internal members have a principal and then there is the Academic Board, one lecturer, one staff member and two students. The external members are appointed by the MEC and are expected to fulfill certain functions in the Council, to be representative of the Further Education and Training Sector and to bring expertise for the reconstruction and development of the FET Colleges. The balance of the Council is of particular importance, where 60% are external members. The Academic Board is charged with determining the academic functions of the colleges and also ensuring that women and the disabled are promoted in FET College programmes. They are also charged with establishing internal academic monitoring and quality promotion and ensuring that programmes are accredited and lead to employment and skills development.

She explained that the most important thing relates to the funding formula, which speaks to who is employed. The Academic Board makes the decisions as to which programmes are offered at the FET Colleges. This must represent the Provincial Development needs. It was noted that lecturers and members of council and student representatives might sit on this board. The committees that can be established by either the Council or the Academic Board must assist the Council or Academic Board in its functions. It was noted that such committees have already been established by a number of Councils. The rest of Chapter Three deals with disciplinary measures. The Department has managed to decrease initiation practices in colleges. The Bill seeks to make sure that the disciplinary measures for corporal punishment and initiation are regulated. Finally, the Colleges determine the admission policy to the public colleges after consultation with the Provincial Head of Education and the Academic Board of Education. She noted that access to colleges is sometimes determined by the learners’ ability to pay though the Department believes that the new FET funding will address this issue. The College Statute (see Bill Schedule) provides colleges who do not have a Statute, with an example of one, which can then be amended to suit the particular college.

Mr J O Thlagale (UCDP, North West) noted that the equipment in some of these colleges was obsolete and could not prepare children for the outside. He asked whether the Department was saying that children would have a smooth transition from the colleges into the workplace with the passing of the Bill.

The Chair commented that the question was general and did not relate to the contents of Chapter three of the Bill.

Mr L Govender (KZN Legislature) asked, with regard to Clause 10(4)(b) of Chapter 3 and the five external persons appointed by the MEC, how these people will be identified and whether they would have to apply for such positions. Secondly, would there be remuneration?

Ms Vinjevold responded that the manner in which external persons are appointed must be announced in the Gazette. There is a calling for nominations by the public in the Government Gazette and then the MEC selects from those nominated according to the guidelines set out. Regarding the payment of council members, there is no honorarium. However, the college will cover traveling costs to meetings.

Prof Mayatula asked for clarity regarding the difference in structures of schools and colleges. He asked whether these colleges had the capacity to cope with all the new governance and other structures.

Ms Vinjevold responded that the Councils have been in place for three to four years and are operating relatively well. The Department has made a plea to organised business to provide community service and expertise. The Councils have large responsibilities especially given the R1.9 billion allocated to the development of the colleges. She noted that the Academic Boards were slightly behind the College Councils and that the Department would have to work hard to make sure that the Academic Boards worked. She noted that they are growing in leaps and bounds and are able to apply themselves to particular tasks very well.

Mr G G Boinamo (DA) pointed out that some colleges were situated in provinces that were poor and where paying fees was not easy. He asked whether the colleges would be funded by the Government for their daily operations, or will they depend on student fees. He asked further whether the employed staff would be paid solely by the council or by the government and how safe pension for those staff would be.

Ms H Lamoela (DA, Western Cape) asked how safe the subsidies and medical schemes of employees would be if circumstances were to change in the colleges.

Ms Vinjevold said she would answer Mr Boinamo and Ms Lamoela’s questions after explaining Chapter 4 of the Bill.

She went on to explain Chapter 4 of the Bill. The Bill asserts that the MEC will appoint the management staff of the college (the Principal, Vice-Principal and Chief Financial Officer). The principal has a performance contract with the FET College. She noted that many of the principals are due for review as their five-year performance agreements are nearly over. With regard to the appointment of lecturers and staff, they are employed under the Employment of Educators Act. This means that they are employed as teachers in the same basket as teachers in schools. It has been noted, however, that these institutions are different in terms of activities and it is thus important to move FET College lecturers away from the Employment of Educators Act to be employed by the Council. The main reason for this is the flexibility issue. The second reason is that under the Employment of Educators Act, the provinces are obliged (if a post is made redundant) to look at a list of people that are unemployed. She explained that although a college may try to employ someone for a high level course for example, the list might have candidates who do not have the specific skills and qualifications for the position.

It was noted that the Department wants to protect the current staff and that through the FET Colleges Bill, the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Employment Equity Act, the lecturers and support staff would continue to be protected. On the appointment of these lecturers, a college will look both at the needs of the local economy and society. They will determine what the programmes are to be offered and would have to consult their staff to ask if the programme could be offered. They then have to go to the Council to explain the programmes they will offer and the funding formula covers the costs of the staff to offer those programmes. Built into this is the cost of the support staff. It was noted that staff are a little bit nervous at having to offer new programmes under new employment conditions. The Department believes that they have established, through the Bill, both protection for the staff and the way in which the colleges will be funded.

The DDG responded to Mr Lamoela and Mr Boinamo’s questions on subsidies. She noted that the Department had already begun to deal with issues where college programmes have changed. It was noted that these staff would have to “up-skill” themselves to make sure that they are ready to offer these programmes. It was explained that most lecturers have found a niche for themselves.

Mr M A Sulliman (ANC, Northern Cape) raised the issue of empowerment, asking for clarity concerning whether the management would employ the rest of the staff.

Ms Vinjevold responded that the management staff would call for nominations, and in the normal way, potential lecturers would be interviewed and then appointed. The council would then approve this but it is important that staff was appointed by the college first. The staff members will then be accountable to the principals of the colleges and thus have a performance agreement with the principal and college.

Ms N M Madlala-Magubane (ANC, Gauteng) pointed out that the current Councils of the FET Colleges employed non-qualified educators, the majority of which are white. She asked what would happen if the very same council uses Government money to continue as before. It was highlighted that there are no effective monitoring mechanisms for the Government in the Bill.

Ms Vinjevold noted that as far as monitoring is concerned, the Department would want to make sure that learners receive the best tuition. The way the Department would want to monitor the Councils is through the funding formula, which looks very carefully to see what the throughput and the output or placement rate of the students is. In other words, it looks at how long it takes a student to acquire the skills and get a job. The Department will be monitoring this. She noted that colleges have been, until now, very light on quality assurance, but that this has changed through monitoring. With exams, for example, the marking will be centralised like the Matric exam and the practical assessment will also be monitored by UMALUSI.

Mr A H Gaum (ANC) asked, with regard to Clause 27, whether there was overlap between sub-paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) and if they did not refer to the single principle of equity.

Advocate S Nawa (Legal Services Deputy Director, DoE) responded that equity refers to fairness. He stated the sub-paragraphs were slightly different but that they complemented each other, and that they were a form of checks and balances.

Ms J M Masilo (ANC, North West) enquired whether the Bill made provision for a student disciplinary code.

The Chair responded that there is a disciplinary code that would be discussed later.

Prof Mayatula referred to the definition of management staff with particular reference to the definition of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He asked whether this definition was limiting. He also noted that no definition for support staff existed.

Advocate Nawa responded that when the Bill was initially drafted, it was suggested that a CFO be part of management staff, in other words employed by the MEC in terms of the Public Service Act. However, after receiving comments from stakeholders, it was suggested that the Council itself appoint the CFO, because if the CFO is employed by the MEC, this would mean that the CFO would not be a member of the Council. The Council deals with financial matters and excluding the CFO from the Council would equate to an exclusion from such financial matters, which makes no sense, as the CFO would not be able to execute his/her duties of control.

Ms Vinjevold added that support staff was a generic term for all staff. She stated that the Department would define ‘support staff’ if necessary.

Prof Mayatula wanted clarity on the employer of the lecturers, whether it was the college or the Council.

Ms Vinjevold said she would get back to him on the issue.

Ms Vinjevold went on to explain Chapter Five of the Bill which dealt with funding. She explained that the Chapter was divided into two parts, the first being the responsibility of the State for norms and standards, and secondly, the funds and financial records. It was important to note that the current equitable share formula will provide a fair and equitable transparent basis for the allocation so that the equitable share will continue which means that the poorer provinces and colleges will continue to be favoured. At the same time once the money has been allocated according to the equitable share, the MEC will then determine how much money goes to each college and the MEC must give each college adequate notice of the funds that will be received in the following year. At the same time colleges may acquire funds from a range of sources other than the State: donations, money raised, loans (though there must be approval by the MEC when applying for a loan), investments, services rendered and fees from students. There is a range of funding that will come in. The Academic Board will determine the programmes that will be offered and these programmes will also be determined by the money that the College receives from the State and through other means. The Councils must adhere to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA); the council keeping records of the proceedings and preparing income and expenditure statements. The Department of Education requests these statements four or five months after the end of the financial year. It was noted that an enormous improvement has been seen in college financial statements over the last year and that this reflects the improvements being made in Public Colleges. The Bill also sets out the penalties for failure to comply with the Act.

Ms B Tumyiswa (Eastern Cape)[Peter: Is she from the EC Provincial Legislature?] wanted clarity on the fair distribution issue. In talking about previously disadvantaged and previously advantaged colleges, and donors, she wanted to know whether colleges have to go through the MEC, and if they do not, does it mean that those colleges will continue as they did in the past? She wanted clarity on the role of the donors, whether they had to go via the Minister or government. She wanted to know whether the Bill covered this.

Ms Vinjevold responded that it is extremely difficult to put into legislation where donors must direct their funding. One cannot insist that the donors spend in particular areas. She explained that donors are always asked to work with the Department and not to make decisions on their own with regard to funding. She noted that with ASGISA, the Department is able to influence where donors directed funding. It was noted that the amount of money from donors in comparison to the state’s contribution is tiny. She explained that the strongest mechanism that remains was the equitable share. Capital development is part of the new funding formula and it allows for capital regeneration. With this funding formula, the Department can address the issue of poor infrastructure.

Mr R Ntuli (ANC) wanted clarity on the appointment of the CFO by the Council. He wanted to know what the dispensation was before this Bill came about regarding the CFO as he/she plays as an important role as the principal of a college, handling large amounts of funds.

Ms Vinjevold responded that Clause 33 of the Bill states that the Council, who has to report to the MEC, would appoint the CFO. The Councils are also subject to the PFMA. It was explained that the current regulation where the CFO is accountable to the Council would be adequate. She noted the Department has strict control over the money available to colleges through the Division of Revenue Act (DORA), to prevent fraud.

Ms Mazibuko noted that the demographics (racial and economic) of rural and urban FET Colleges were vastly different and that funds would usually be allocated to those colleges in urban centres rather than the rural ones. She wanted to know at what stage the MEC would intervene to deal with this issue. The issue of quintals was also raised. She wanted to know how this would be managed in FET Colleges, given the various pressures on students.

Ms Vinjevold responded that this Bill was linked to the norms and standards for funding of FET Colleges, and this will become policy once the Bill is passed. The Bill sets out clearly that 80 percent of the fees will be subsidised by the State. Also, the students in the first and second quintals will be exempt from paying these fees. Learners will have to do a means test rather than apply for exemption from the fees.

Prof Mayatula wanted clarity on Clause 22(3) of Chapter Five. He wanted to know what type of structure the Advisory Boards were and where they would be located.

Ms Vinjevold said that each of the provinces is expected to set up some kind of council that is representative to advise the MEC on the appointment of these Advisory Boards.

Mr Govender noted that schools were presently being ranked according to quintals. He wanted to know whether a parent would have to be in a certain wage bracket to fall into a particular quintal.

Ms Vinjevold responded that this was included in the norms and standards for funding and it was not appropriate for it to be in the Bill. She explained that the quintals are determined by the income of the parents.

Mr Gaum asked whether there was a mistake in Clause 24(3) which made reference to “on overdraft.”

Mr Sulliman commented that the question of the appropriate advisory board, who appointed them and their composition, was not clear from the Bill. He asked for clarification on this particular matter.

The Chair noted that the advisory board could be traced to SASA (SA Schools Act).

Ms Vinjevold felt it would be very useful for the Department to get that reference so as to add it into the Bill.

Prof Mayatula asked how an individual would be placed in a quintal since colleges were not.

Ms Vinjevold said that it would be determined by the learners being divided in terms of the population into certain categories of income. It is a sliding scale of funding, though the poorest learners would not be required to pay anything. She explained that the means test would determine the payment to the colleges.

Mr L W Greyling (ID) noted that it would be helpful to see the norms and standards. He asked whether, concerning colleges in particular areas with many exemptions, the college would be getting more funding from government to make up for this.

Ms Vinjevold explained that the norms and standards are extremely complicated. She explained that the State would provide 80 percent of the funding for high priority programmes but on an individual basis, depending on one’s income, one could get 100 percent of the costs. Other than the norms and standards, the students will determine extra monies so that there will be a second pro-poor funding of the colleges. She noted that the Western Cape have already started this process of fee exemption through questionnaires.

Ms Lamoela noted that a lot of students come from areas where there is seasonal work and when it is off-season, they cannot afford to pay. She asked whether there were any criteria for these students and how they would be accommodated.

Mr K Sesele (Free State Legislature) referred to town and township branches of the same college, asking if they would be funded individually or as a whole. 

Mr S D Montsitsi (ANC) noted that a reference point relevant to the context of FET Colleges needed to be created, so as to completely distinguish them from schools.

Ms Vinjevold responded that the Bill refers to an MEC having to create an advisory body. The Department would make the reference, as to where in the legislation this is required, available to the Committees.

Ms Vinjevold explained Chapter Six of the Bill which deals with private colleges. She stated that the Minister of Education has instructed the Department not to make prescriptions with regard to the ownership of Private Colleges. The legislation (Bill) seeks to protect the students through the registration of these private colleges. The Department looks at two aspects when dealing with private colleges. First, the Department looks at whether these colleges have sound financial statements which means that they must be registered as a company. Secondly, the Department looks at the quality of the programmes that are offered. Only those colleges that offer a full qualification are registered with the Department and accredited by UMALUSI. This chapter sets out how to go about registering private colleges. It was noted that 400 colleges have already put in their applications to the Department and they are being processed. It was noted that these colleges also play an important part in skills development.

Ms Mazibuko noted that most learners find themselves in these colleges because they cannot get into the public FETs. It was pointed out that, due to circumstances in these colleges, many students drop out or are expelled. She asked how the Department would protect learners who have paid their fees but have dropped out due to circumstances or have been excluded for not passing their exams.

Ms Vinjevold answered that the norms and standards for funding is an attempt to make sure that the Department can draw many more learners, especially the poorer ones, into Public FET Colleges. At the same time, private FET colleges will continue to exist and the Department needs to protect the learners in these institutions. She explained that without the Act, the Department could not properly protect learners in these private colleges. She noted that although there were mechanisms in place, such as a complaints hotline, the Department’s hands would be tied without the Act.

Prof Mayatula wanted clarity on the definition of the registrar.

Ms Vinjevold acknowledged that the important thing was to establish who the registrar is because it is a senior government official in education who is the registrar in Private Colleges.
 
Mr Boinamo referred to Ms Mazibuko’s claim that learners pay but are expelled for non-performance. He asked whether this was not a matter of policy pertaining to a particular college of which the student must be aware before beginning any programme and making payment.

Mr M I Kweta (Legal Advisor, DoE) responded that when it comes to private colleges, private law must be taken into account where the learner or parent enters into a contract with the college. The terms of the contract should deal with all those issues.

Ms Vinjevold added that the Department wanted to go on advocacy campaigns so that any learner that registers at a private college asks three or four key questions. The Bill gives tips to learners to look at the financial statements and whether the college is registered with the DoE and UMALUSI.

Ms Vinjevold explained Chapter Seven of the FET Colleges Bill which deals with the promotion of quality which pertains to both public and private colleges. By law UMALUSI is responsible for quality assuring the programmes. The colleges themselves, their employment and their finances are determined by the Director-General, who must also promote the quality in both the private and public colleges. As far as the programmes are concerned, the Department has been working closely with UMALUSI to ensure that both the theoretical and practical components are quality assured.

Chapter Eight was then explained. It was highlighted that colleges are required by the Bill to provide a strategic plan which the council will look at and subsequently submit to the MEC, who will publish the annual report of the colleges each year. The colleges must provide information for inspection to any person required by the Head of Department or Director-General, who may request information. In circumstances where the MEC is unhappy with the performance, he/she may appoint an administrator. Clause 46 of the Bill sets out why and under what circumstances an administrator would be appointed. Ms Vinjevold explained that the Department did not have any examples of this as yet. Regarding name changes, these must go through the MEC and be published in the Government Gazette. 

Prof Mayatula asked if too much is expected of the staff with regard to the strategic plans and reports.

Ms Vinjevold responded that currently the colleges create three-year strategic plans that are revisited each year to see if anything differs. She explained that it was not a case of doing a new strategic plan every year, but it is about aligning the existing plan to the external and internal changes.

Prof Mayatula questioned the wording of the clause on who may publish the report, which was worded “either the Minister or the MEC”.

Advocate Nawa explained that it means that it will depend on the discretion of the Minister whether a certain report can be published by the Minister for national consumption or whether a certain report can be published by the MEC for provincial consumption.

Ms Vinjevold stated further that the clause should be read in line with subsection 2 as the public colleges must prepare and submit a report. The Minister or the MEC may decide to publish that report or not.

Mr Sulliman referred to Clause 44(3) that refers to either the Minister or MEC publishing the report. He noted that it refers to ‘may’ which would mean that no obligation exists for the Minister or MEC to publish the report.

Ms Vinjevold noted that it was not that they may or may not, but the ‘may’ refers to the format to be followed.

Ms Mazibuko raised the issue of name and emblem changes. She wanted to know whether public hearings would have to occur to effect such name changes.

Ms Vinjevold responded that the name change must be published in the Government Gazette and that means that a public comment process would take place. With regard to the emblem, the Department has not taken this into account and does not think it necessary to include it in the Bill.

Mr Gaum referred back to the issue of the Minister or MEC publishing the report. He asked if it would not be better to say that a Member of the Executive Council must publish the report. He noted that this would provide specific clarity. He also asked whether the Department foresaw a need to empower the MEC in the Act to make certain regulations with regard to his/her functions.

Ms Vinjevold responded that the Department would look into whether the clause should be worded ‘must’ or not, and they will get back to the Committee on this. She explained that in a relatively small sector with only 50 colleges where the Minister meets the MEC on questions of regulation, it would probably be a joint development of regulations.

Chapter Nine dealt with transitional and other arrangements concerning FET Colleges. Ms Vinjevold explained that these arrangements are extremely important. She explained that the existing 50 colleges (as named in Schedule 2 of the Bill) will continue to exist and are deemed to be the Public Colleges, and will not be declared as colleges by the MEC. The members of the Council, Academic Board and Student Representative Council will hold office until they are replaced in terms of the requirements of the Bill. The staff, which includes all staff employed by the State, will continue to be employed until appointed in terms of the Act, which will occur hopefully in 2007. The Education Labour Relations Council and the Public Service Commission Bargaining Council (PSCBC) will continue to be the bargaining council. The staff may decide that they want to change their bargaining council, but that would be their prerogative. The applications for the registrations continue. The National Board for FET (NBFET) continues to exist until an advisory body replaces it. The disciplinary measures continue, the FET Act of 1998 will be repealed by the new Act and this Act would be called “The Further Education and Training Colleges Act, 2006.”

Mr Gaum pleaded with the Department, with regard to Schedule 2, to pay attention to colleges listed under the wrong provinces. This had to be corrected.

Ms Vinjevold thanked Advocate Gaum for bringing this to the Department’s attention. She stated that the error would be fixed.

Prof Mayatula referred to the NBFET, asking whether the Department intended, through the Act, to do away with it in favour of Advisory Bodies.

Ms Vinjevold said that an Advisory Body for the Minister becomes even more important, though the NBFET will continue to be called as such until an Advisory Body in terms of Clause 11 of the Bill replaces it. She explained that the language needed to be tightened up in the clause so that the intention is properly communicated.

Prof Mayatula asked for clarity on the repeal of the FET Act.

Ms Vinjevold explained that the schools that offer grades 10, 11 and 12 will fall under SASA, and the FET Colleges will fall under the FET Colleges Act of 2006. She explained that, in reality, schools have never been part of the FET Act of 1998. The Department needs to distinguish between curricula that are offered in the Further Education and Training band. Schools are governed by SASA while FET Colleges operate at levels two, three and four on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and are governed by the Council.

The Chair noted that we can no longer speak of FET Schools.

Ms Masangwa referred to the presentation and the R10 000 to be given to lecturers for further training. She asked how this money would be monitored to ensure that lecturers are using it properly and also whether training would occur on an ongoing basis.

Ms Vinjevold explained that there are two types of training. The Department of Education in conjunction with Higher Education Institutions is offering regular training that everybody has to attend. This is paid for by the Department and is ongoing. The Colleges must also determine their specific needs and it was explained that there is not a general time-frame on the acquisition of these skills. They must, however, spend the money within two years of obtaining it. The Department is monitoring this very tightly and each college must report on how exactly its staff is using the R10 000. The Academic Board and the Principal must approve the training.

Ms Tumyiswa noted a problem with the numbering on Page 28.

The Chair stated that this will be corrected.

Ms Vinjevold explained that the numbering corrects itself on page 29, but noted that nothing has been left out.

Ms Masilo again raised the question of a disciplinary code of conduct for students.

Ms Vinjevold responded that it was in the existing statute and is also referred to in Chapter three.

The Chair thanked the Department for a thorough presentation and briefing. He also thanked Members of the NCOP for attending the meeting. He encouraged the provinces to hold public hearings on the Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.

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