Question NW3515 to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

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14 December 2018 - NW3515

Profile picture: van der Westhuizen, Mr AP

van der Westhuizen, Mr AP to ask the Minister of Higher Education and Training

(1)What is the reason that public technical and vocational education and training colleges that offer qualifications from Level 2 to 4 deny entry to learners who graduate at Level 2 from skills schools and who wish to improve their qualifications beyond this level; (2) whether her department will be exploring options for such learners to be able to improve their skills and formal qualifications at public institutions; if so, (a) what would be required of such an exploratory study and (b) by what date does she expect to report regarding her findings in this regard; (3) whether she will be engaging with both the Department of Basic Education and her department in order to create a learning pathway in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) what options are there currently for such learners to improve their formal qualifications on a full-time basis?

Reply:

1. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges cannot deny access to students based on the fact that they come from skills schools. All students who apply to colleges must meet the institution’s admission criteria. Some applicants might not meet the academic criteria for their vocational or occupational programme of choice, because the skills schools are essentially special schools focussing on practical skills and do not offer NQF level 2 qualifications.

2. Where students do not meet the academic criteria, 45 TVET colleges will from
January 2019 offer the Pre-vocational Learning Programme (PLP), which is designed to strengthen the learning foundations of students who wish to study further in the vocational qualifications offered by the chosen college. This is a one-year programme comprising of Foundational Language, Foundational Mathematics, Foundational Science and Life Skills (which includes basic computer literacy). Such students may then ideally articulate into occupational qualifications offered at NQF levels 1 - 2, or even the National Certificate (Vocational) [NC(V)] if the learner is in a position to and wishes to pursue a broader vocational pathway.

(a) The Department is currently in the process of configuring the suite of programmes to be offered in the Community Education and Training (CET) colleges so that other options will be available to learners from skills schools. There are 25 skills schools in Gauteng and 22 in the Western Cape, while the other provinces have between 1 to 5 such schools. The Department will be requesting its Regional Managers to engage with Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) to link these schools to TVET and CET colleges so that opportunities for these students can be mapped out as a collaborative initiative.

9b) The process is in its early stages and therefore data cannot be provided at this stage.

3. Engagements with the Department of Basic Education are already underway on a number of programmes and qualifications affecting the two Departments. The overall intention is to create a comprehensive and integrated public education system, which addresses issues of duplication, as well as gaps in learning pathways.

4. Depending on the competencies of the learners from the skills school, they may access the NC(V) qualifications (if they have the equivalent of a Grade 9 or the General Education and Training Certificate for Adults), N1 programmes or NQF level 2 occupational qualifications offered in TVET colleges. They may gain access either directly or through the PLP programme. Colleges are required to administer baseline tests in language and Mathematics to make this determination.

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