ATC170215: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training on its Oversight visit to the Post-School Education and Training Institutions in Gauteng, dated 15 February 2017
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING ON ITS OVERSIGHT VISIT TO THE POST-SCHOOL EDUCATION AND TRAINING INSTITUTIONS IN GAUTENG, DATED 15 FEBRUARY 2017
The Portfolio Committee having conducted an oversight visit to the post-school education and training institutions in Gauteng on 19 – 23 September 2016 reports as follows.
1. Delegation list
Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training
Ms C September: Chairperson (ANC), Mr D Kekana (ANC), Ms S Mchunu (ANC), Ms M Nkadimeng (ANC), Mr E Siwela (ANC), Prof B Bozzoli (DA), Mr Y Cassim (DA) and Prof N Khubisa (NFP).
1.2 Parliamentary support staff
Mr A Kabingesi: Committee Secretary, Ms M Modiba: Content Adviser, and Mr M L Ben: Committee Assistant and Mr S Maputi: Parliamentary Communications Officer.
The Committee undertook an oversight visit to the following institutions, namely: Eskom Academy of Learning; Institute for the Development of Learnerships Employment Skills and Labour Assessments (INDLELA); Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) / PUTCO Bus Company; Education Training and Development Practices SETA / Edutel, South West Gauteng Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College; PQ Vundla and Setlakalane Molapo Community Learning Centres and the Public Service SETA. This report provides a brief summary of the presentations made by the institutions, observations and recommendations made by members.
The oversight visit formed part of the Committee’s plan to enhance Parliament’s oversight and accountability over the work of the Executive to ensure implementation of the objectives of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 – 2019). The National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 is the most important strategy of Government aiming to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The Plan commits the Department of Higher Education and Training through its entities to produce 30 000 artisans per annum by 2030. The National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) III clearly articulates that the workplace should be an integral part of all vocational programmes. The Strategy commits all the role players to establish effective partnership between education and training systems and employers to provide for workplace training that would ensure that skills have real labour market relevance, and that young people gain an early appreciation of and exposure to the world of work.
The 2014 – 2019 Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) proposes a target of 140 000 work-based training and experience opportunities for students as well as an increased partnership between the SETAs and employers for placements by 2019. The National Skills Fund (NSF) and the Sector Education and Training (SETAs) have disbursed a lot of mandatory and discretionary funds towards supporting the skills development interventions, in terms of funding skills training, skills infrastructure, curriculum development, student workplace placements, lecturer development, etc.
During its Mid-Term Review Workshop, the Committee resolved to conduct an oversight to the National Skills Fund (NSF) and the SETA’s funded skills development interventions. The Committee had always wanted to conduct an oversight visit to the skills development interventions supported by these entities in reducing the scourge of critical skills shortage in the country. It was against this background that the Committee embarked on an oversight visit to the post-school education and training (PSET) institutions which played a critical role in achieving the NDP targets.
The objectives of the oversight visit were as follows:
- assess whether the funded projects are making an impact, particularly in the lives of young unemployed people;
- assess whether the training facilities are optimally used for training;
- interact with students on their experiences with work-integrated learning (WIL) and learnership programmes;
- interact with the employers on their experiences in accessing funding for work-integrated learning and employability of students upon completing their learning;
- assess transformation in the skills development sector;
- assess the implementation of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to redress the past injustices on access to education and training; and
- Engage with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges on their governance and management, policies, funding and their programme offerings.
4. Summary of presentations
4.1 National Skills Fund and Eskom Artisan Training Partnership
4.1.1 Eskom Academy of Learning
The meeting was held at the Eskom Academy of Learning in Midrand. The presentation was made by Ms S Mamorare, Chief Learning Officer and highlighted the following. The Eskom Strategic Workforce Plan indicated that Eskom required six percent of its workforce to be learners, therefore the Learner Pipeline had been maintained at a robust level that was more than adequate to meet the future core, critical and scarce skills demands. Eskom had various levers for skills development which included the schools programme, bursary programme, learnerships and internships, apprenticeships and partnerships with institutions of higher learning.
Internal Employee Development continued to be informed by Eskom’s Strategic Workforce Plan. External skills development initiatives continued to be supported, though the number of beneficiaries depended on the availability of funding from the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) and the Supplier Development and Localization (SDL) initiatives.
The National Skills Fund (NSF) had allocated R174 million skills grant to Eskom to recruit and train 1 250 learner artisans (actual 1 370) over three years. This was in line with the National Artisan Funding model of R139 000 per learner. An amount of R1.288 billion was spent on training and development in 2015/16, which represented 4.39 percent of the gross manpower costs as training investment against a target of five percent. The co-funding models were used to fund these learners, with the primary Eskom SETA being the Energy and Water SETA that funded Eskom through mandatory skills grants, and also facilitated additional discretionary skills grants for strategic skills development projects. The funding shortfall over the three year period to train artisans was R397 million.
The Artisan, Operating & Maintenance Centre of Excellence (AOM COE) informed by the business needs would train, develop and declare competent Artisans and Technicians across the learning value chain to a level of competence that would enhance, and sustain individual and organisational performance. The AOM COE was nationally accredited by the Energy and Water SETA, Manufacturing Engineering and Other Related Services SETA, Education Training and Development Practices SETA, Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) and the International Institute of Welding (IIW). This made sure that the facility and all other learning materials were in compliance. The facility was also accredited by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). The academic and leadership team participated actively in national and international initiatives that were relevant for continuous improvement.
The AOM COE included training workshops such as the Welding and Fabrication, Electrical, Measurement Control & Instrumentation, Maintenance, Generic Power Plant (GPP) Simulator and Administration Support Office.
4.1.2 National Skills Fund
The presentation was made by Mr M Macikama: Chief Executive Officer and highlighted the following. The funding of the NSF to train learners to acquire scarce and critical skills was related to priority occupations that were being required for the implementation of key strategic initiative such the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), Oceans Economy Operation Phakisa, Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) and the New Growth Path (NGP). The State Owned Companies (SOCs) had traditionally been a significant source of artisan training and development in South Africa, beyond their internal and skills needs. Since 2012, the NSF had made a significant investment in artisan development through the SOCs.
The NSF allocated R296 million to Transnet, R173 million to Eskom, R23 million to the South African Airways (SAA), R58 million to Denel, R119 million to the Passenger Railway Association of South Africa (PRASA), R1.2 million to the South African Express, R25 million to the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (NECSA) for training and development of artisans and R200 million to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The total value of the NSF’s funding towards artisan development initiatives since 2012 amounted to R899 million targeting 5 329 learners.
The funding of infrastructure development to respond to scarce and critical skills included R113 million towards expanding the Veterinary Science facilities at the University Pretoria (UP), R311 million towards expanding the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria, R211 million towards expanding the work-integrated engineering facilities at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and R105 million towards the South African Renewable Energy Training Centre (SARETEC) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
The NSF allocated R1.3 billion to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2015/16 to assist 16 143 undergraduate students enrolled in scarce and critical skills programmes, R198 million in 2015/16 to the National Research Foundation (NRF) to assist 1 893 postgraduate students with bursaries and R158 million towards the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Thuthuka Initiative. The NSF allocated R453 million towards Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges to assist 14 835 learners in 2015/16 and R300 million towards the establishment of the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) and the roll out of an extensive National Cadetship Programme on maritime occupations.
4.1.3 Artisan learners
The artisan learners noted that they were the fourth group to have joined the Welders Development Programme since its inception. The duration of the programme was three years and the learners would qualify with dual qualifications recognised by the South African Institute of Welders (SAIW) and International Institute of Welding (IIW). The qualifications were recognised in 84 countries and the graduates could further their education in the country or abroad. During training, learners were exposed to the real work environment. Learners noted that they would want to open their own businesses and training centres in future. They proposed that the Academy should also train them in project management and entrepreneurial skills.
The learners thanked the NSF and Eskom for providing them with opportunities to train as apprentices as well as affording women with opportunities to train in trades that were previously dominated by males. Women were also found to be better welders because their eye-hand coordination and concentration was higher than their male counterparts. This initiative would minimise the importing of foreign skilled people into the country.
4.1.4 Site visits to Eskom Learning Academy Training Workshops
The Committee visited the Artisan, Operating and Maintenance Welding School of Excellence. The School offered the Eskom Professional Welders Development Programme to young apprentices from all over the country. The programme was offered in partnership with the Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) and the International Institute of Welding (IIW) to produce internationally recognised professional welders. The International Welder programme was aligned with the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 4 qualifications. The minimum requirement for learners to be admitted into the programme was a Matric certificate with Mathematics and Physical Science as major subjects. The apprenticeship training was offered over a period of three years.
The Committee visited the Generic Power Plant (GPP) Simulator, which offered training to engineers and Technicians to manage the grid on Eskom’s power stations. The minimum requirement for learners to be admitted in the training program was the National Qualification Framework (NQF) Level 6 qualification with previous work experience in a power station. The training programme was offered over a period of three years for Unit Controllers. The simulator used the latest software for the training programme, at the cost of R15 million.
The Committee also visited the Artisan Operating and Maintenance Centre of Excellence Test Centre, Electrical, Filing and Lighting workshops. The apprentices who interacted with members indicated that the training programmes offered by the academy were a life changing opportunity for them, since most of them came from poor family backgrounds. The academy offered the apprentices with free tuition, free accommodation and stipends while they were being trained. The opportunities for the apprentices to be absorbed by Eskom upon completion of the programme were very high. Eskom indicated that it offered the apprentices with internship to enhance their skills and absorb them when vacancies opened up. The academy had a very low drop-out rate and the apprentices were offered with a second chance if they failed the training programme.
The presentation was made by Mr D Mabusela, Chief Director and highlighted the following. INDLELA was committed to the production of competent and qualified artisans in line with the NDP target of producing 30 000 artisans per annum by 2030. From 2012/13 and 2013/14, there was a sharp increase in the number of artisans found competent which, were 15 000 and 18 000 per annum respectively. However, this was followed up by a sharp decrease on this number in 2014/15 to 14 000 artisans found competent. INDLELA undertook to research the causes of the sharp decline in the number of artisans produced in 2014/15. The number of artisans found competent in 2015/16 was 16 000 whereas 19 000 were certified. In the 2016/17 first quarter, 2 595 candidates were found competent, whereas 4 749 were certified.
Two gap closure workshops had been established for Welders and Boilermakers for Artisan Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL). The criteria guidelines, which would provide a national criteria for ARPL had been developed. The ARPL candidate funding model for training still needed special attention and its establishment was expected by June 2017.
An initial Trade Test Pass Improvement Strategy addressing the challenges at INDLELA was published and distributed for public comments in 2015. The comments received largely pointed to the restricted scope of the strategy and its lack of expression on broader policy issues, linking artisan development to socio-economic issues in the country. The scope of the strategy was extended and renamed the National Artisan Development Strategy. A national public engagement campaign was being undertaken to consult various stakeholders in the sector.
The main challenges at INDLELA included the infrastructure renovation and expansion, workshop machinery and equipment modernization, expansion of security personnel, limited trade testing, few assessors and workshops for high demand trades, and high number of assessors and workshops for low demand trades, ageing assessors in low demand trade and insufficient budget allocated for ARPL.
4.2.1 Site visit to the INDLELA trade test workshops
The Committee conducted a site visit to the Electrical, Boiler-Maker, Diesel Mechanic and Welding workshops. INDLELA offered a trade test to artisan learners who have successfully completed the occupational knowledge, practical and workplace learning and through recognition of prior learning (RPL). INDLELA was the only public accredited trade test centre in the country and its history dated back to over 60 years.
The Diesel Mechanic trade was a very popular among candidates that were assessed at INDLELA. Candidates were assessed on a 4 ton truck engine to conduct diagnosis, maintenance and testing. The equipment used to assess candidates in some of the workshops was outdated, and it had to be upgraded, since the industry utilised modernised equipment.
4.3 Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) and PUTCO Bus Company Artisan Training Partnership
4.3.1 Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA)
The meeting took place at PUTCO Larimar Training Academy in Sandton. The presentation was made by Ms M Anno-Frempong: CEO and highlighted the following: TETA’s Strategic Framework was drawn from the Sector Skills Plan (SSP) and the Strategic Framework contained the transport sector skills priorities. The transport sector employed a total workforce of 727 528 employees with the major employer being the taxi industry. Budgetary constraints limited the TETA’s ability to meet the full industry skills demands, and other scarce and critical skills were being addressed by stakeholders through their own mandatory grant funding. Internship and work-place exposure had been on the decrease because of lack of interest from the industry to place learners.
TETA allocated R225 million towards Apprenticeships, R276 million towards Learnerships, R115 million towards Internships, R41 million towards Workplace Experience, R87 million towards the Skills Programmes and R22 million towards the Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs). The total contribution of TETA towards skills programme amounted to R1 billion. The apprenticeship funding was concentrated in major trading centres with facilities and where the majority of stakeholders preferred to train.
TETA had partnered with TVET Colleges for capacitation of lecturers as Assessors and Moderators on transport related qualifications, supported the Ocean’s Economy Operation Phakisa through funding of apprenticeship training and adopted several rural-based and disadvantaged schools to encourage learners to take up post-school studies that addressed scarce and critical skills in the transport sector.
4.3.2 PUTCO Larimar Training Academy
The presentation was made by Ms L Pather, Skills Development Manager and highlighted the following: The Larimar Group and PUTCO Limited were committed to the development of their people as well as new entrants into the world of work. The company had a sufficiently resourced Training Academy and Selection Centre with 28 full time employees dedicated to these functions. The Training Academy was accredited by the TETA for driver training, the Media Information and Communication Technology Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) and Manufacturing Engineering and Other Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA) for technical training. The Academy offered a National Certificate in Professional Driving Learnership programme, apprenticeship programme towards artisan Diesel Mechanic and Auto-Electrician qualifications. The company also offered internships and work-integrated learning placements for TVET Colleges and University students.
All the training courses were conducted at the Training Academy, theory and practical training were integrated to provide a complete intervention to learners. The annual apprenticeship intake was 60. External service providers were used to train on specific areas, such as Health and Safety, legislation, as well as supervisory and management training to junior, middle and senior managers. The total training budget for the 2016/17 financial year was R15 million.
The PUTCO Bus Company employed 3 500 employees, and 96 percent of them were Black. The company transported approximately 80 million passengers per year / 320 000 passengers per day. The fleet collectively travelled 100 million kilometres per year. 1 768 employees were trained during July 2015 to April 2016 against the target of 1 669. The apprenticeship programme for Diesel Mechanics and Auto Electricians was conducted over a period of three years. There were 106 apprentices in training as at July 2016 between the ages 21 – 33 years.
The company experienced challenges with regard to under-representation of woman (drivers and artisans), ageing workforce, white dominated senior management, high concentration of women in auto-electrician trade because there is no heavy lifting and reliance on TETA funding for training.
The Committee interacted with learners who joined the company for work-integrated learning, interns and apprentices and those who had completed their training. One of the beneficiaries noted that she was qualified with a National Diploma in Transportation and through the work-integrated learning opportunity within the administration unit of the company, she acquired experience in dealing with traffic fines, dispatching of drivers and general operations within the company. Another learner joined the company as an intern in the Scheduling Department to monitor the buses on the roads, and she got employed by the company as a clerk. There were learners who were training as artisans in Auto Electrician, Diesel Mechanics and those who were on a Professional Driving Learnership. TETA had also funded one learner to study towards Maritime Transport. The company afforded women with opportunities to train as artisans. The company had almost 95 percent absorption rate of graduates from its training programmes.
4.3.4 Site visit to the PUTCO Bus Company Workshop
The Committee visited the PUTCO Bus Workshop in Wynberg, which offered training for the Diesel Mechanics and Auto Electricians apprentices. The workshop had the capacity to accommodate 80 buses. The Diesel Mechanic apprenticeship programme offered the apprentices with hands-on training and skills to diagnose and repair bus engines. The duration of the apprenticeship was three years, and the apprentices were offered with employment or they could apply elsewhere.
The Auto-Electrician apprenticeship programme offered the apprentices with training on the electrical system of the buses. This included the training on maintenance of all electrical components in the bus and to conduct diagnostic tests. The minimum requirements for learners to be admitted to the apprenticeship was a Report 191 / Nated (N6) certificate in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. The learners reported that they have not received the tool boxes they were promised by PUTCO Bus Company.
4.4 ETDP SETA and Edutel Youth Development Learnership Partnership
4.4.1 ETDP SETA
The meeting took place at Edutel in Roodepoort. The presentation was made by Ms N Nxesi: CEO and highlighted the following. The ETDP SETA was responsible for skills development in the education, training and development practices sector. The key programmes for youth development offered by the ETDP SETA included bursaries, internships, learnerships, career development officers, matric second chance programme, cooperatives and career guidance booklets for Grade 9 – 12 learners. ETDP SETA funded six Research Chairs in the country, with two of them being in Gauteng for Labour Market Information at the University of Pretoria and Empirical Research on TVET College Lecturer Development at Wits University.
ETDP SETA had offered 361 internships and 41 Career Development Practitioners since 2015 to date. 41 Career Development Officers (CDOs) had been placed at various TVET Colleges to date and the programme was very successful since it led to employment. The achievements of the ETDP SETA projects in Gauteng from 2010 to 2015 included; 794 learnerships for the unemployed youth, 780 learnerships for the employed, 885 workplace experience opportunities, 310 second chance / matric rewrite learners funded, 365 skills programmes for the unemployed and R70 million towards the Memorandum of Agreement with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) for projects. The total budget for skills development projects in Gauteng amounted to R73 million.
The presentation was made by Ms D Ferreira: Assessor and highlighted the following: Edutel specialised in skills development training and offered formal qualifications in different sectors of the economy. The Youth Development qualification offered by Edutel was accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 4 qualification. The programme was an entry level qualification which capacitated learners to become youth development practitioners, and to be able to facilitate enabling processes for the development of young people.
The Youth Development qualification contained basics such as literacy and numeracy, human rights, national government, project management and relationship management. The specifics of the qualification included the youth development history and paradigms, basic lay counselling, community research, facilitation skills, mentoring skills and personal review. The programme targeted people with experience in youth development with no formal qualification, and candidates with qualification but no experience in youth work.
Edutel conducted the training, assessment, workplace monitoring of the programme while the ETDP SETA funded the Learnership and offered stipends to the learners. The Youth Development Learnership was offered over a 12 months period. The learning process included the orientation of the programme, instructional learning, workplace learning, evidence collection, learner support and submission of the assessments.
4.4.3 Learners in the Youth Development Learnership
The learners in the Youth Development Learnership were trained in programmes relevant to addressing youth related challenges in their own communities. They noted that they were better equipped as youth practitioners to provide counselling to youth in terms of careers and psycho-social challenges. Many of the learners worked with youths in their communities, but they did not have the qualifications.
4.5 South West Gauteng TVET College
4.5.1 University Management
The presentation was made by Mr D Nkosi: Principal and highlighted the following. The college was situated in the South Western part of Johannesburg with six campuses in Dobsonville, George Tabor, Molapo, Roodepoort, Roodepoort West and Randburg. The college had a functional council which met at least four times a year. Other governance structures of the college included the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Academic Board.
The major governance challenges of the college included the need for a permanent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and finance manager, low and unattractive salary scales, gross underfunding and withholding of the 63 percent of the payroll by the Department. The college had a total budget of R344 million for 2016, which was inadequate for the total enrolment of almost 30 000 students. The college obtained an unqualified audit report in 2014. The 2015 audit had to be halted because the previous year’s balances as identified by the Auditor-General were not incorporated into the 2015 financial statements.
The college had a total headcount of 27 859 students for 2016 as compared to 25 615 in 2015. The college had grown by 8 percent with no commensurate budget to support the growth in enrolments. Based on the 2015 enrolment figures, 56 percent of the student population were females, while males constituted 44 percent. The majority of the students at the college were enrolled in Report 191 / Nated programmes, totaling 16 074 and the National Certificate Vocational NC(V) enrolment stood at 9 541 based on the 2015 figures. The majority of the students, 95 percent were from Gauteng. The number of students with disabilities at the college was 68, based on the 2016 figures.
The management and administration of bursaries was guided by the college’s bursary policy, which had been changed to accommodate students. The total allocation of the National Student Financial Aid (NSFAS) bursary for the college in 2016 amounted to 85 million, which assisted 10 754 students. The college would claim the remaining R4.5 million from the NSFAS in the third trimester. The number of students who qualified for financial support based on the means test was higher than the actual bursary allocation.
The college did not have its own residential facilities for students at its campuses and students who needed accommodation were assisted to lodge in the neighbourhood. Students were awarded accommodation allowances up to R19 746.00 each. Accommodation allowances took the biggest chunk of the NSFAS bursary allocation. The overall certification at the college had increased from 40 percent to 49 percent in 2015.
4.5.2 Student Representative Council
The presentation was made Mr H Mani: SRC President and highlighted the following. Students were negatively affected by the pending results and the delays with the issuing of their certificates. Some students were dropping out because there were told that they could not progress to the next level because of the pending results.
Lack of infrastructure investment and expansion was a serious challenge at the college. Enrolment continued to increase while the infrastructure at the college was not expanding. In certain instances 1 200 students allegedly shared two toilets at a campus. The college was unable to attract suitably qualified employees and this negatively affected teaching and learning. The college was not audited for 2015/16 and there were no steps taken against the accounting officer for failing to get the college audited. The curriculum review for TVET College programmes should be prioritised. The programmes offered at the college were not aligned to respond to economic demands. The training programmes offered 95 percent theory and only 5 percent practical lessons. The lack of infrastructure impacted on the ability of the college to offer practical lessons adequately.
Some of the lecturers were allocated subjects that they were not qualified to teach. In the NC(V) Primary Health and Agriculture programme, students were offered to do mathematics literacy while the curriculum required them to do pure Maths. As a result, some of the students were in their final year and they were required to do Maths from Level 2.
The funding shortfall for the TVET sector remained a serious concern. Only R2 billion of the total R16 billion administered by the NSFAS was allocated to the TVET Colleges. Inadequate funding had led to many students dropping out of the college.
The TVET sector should be professionalised and student representatives should form part of the College Council. The labour market needed to take TVET College graduates seriously, and the job advertisements should include the NC(V) as a minimum requirement. Serious action should be taken against the Council and the Principal if they fail to get a clean audit. Outsourcing of staff members should end as it was a modern form of slavery. The unfair suspension of staff members should come to an end. The college did not have sufficient sport facilities for students. The gender profile of the Council should be reviewed to include more females and young people.
The National Education and Health Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA), South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), Public Service Association (PSA) representatives made a presentation which highlighted the following: The unfair suspension of employees by management remained a serious concern at the college. There was nepotism and favoritism in the appointment of certain employees who had a special relationship with the Principal. There was an intern employed by the college who was paid a salary equivalent to that of permanent employees, and had also been an intern for three years. The college appointed interns to fill the vacant positions and they were also misplaced in their appointments.
The relationship between the college and the Department of Higher Education and Training was questionable. The KPMG forensic audit report that was conducted in the college was never shared with the unions, and there was no action taken to implement the recommendations of the report. The working conditions of lecturers were not conducive, and there was inadequate support from the management to improve the working conditions. The migration process of the provident funds to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) was tedious.
The management of the college continued to increase student enrolment while the budget of the college was not commensurate to meet the increasing enrolment. The academic performance of students was negatively affected by the shortage of teaching and learning resources. Students were forced to share laptops during teaching and learning time, and the classrooms were overcrowded. The NC(V) curriculum was outdated with old syllabus and textbooks for reference. The NC(V) curriculum should be reviewed to meet the industry needs. The college did not train lecturers to adequately assist students with special needs.
4.6 Gauteng Community Education and Training
4.6.1 College Management
The meeting was held at the PQ Vundla Community Learning Centre. The presentation was made by Mr C Wee: Acting Principal for Gauteng CET and highlighted the following: The head office of the Gauteng CET was situated at the Central Johannesburg TVET College Crown Mines Campus. Gauteng had 47 Community Learning Centres (CLCs) with 310 satellites. Of the 47 CLCs, 26 had their own dedicated infrastructure inherited from the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE). Most of these buildings were primary schools and they were in a poor condition, and required major renovations. Those primary schools were plagued with historical municipal debts. The other 21 CLCs operated from schools and TVET Colleges with restricted operational time, and they were required to pay rental tariffs to utilise the buildings.
The total number of learners registered in 2016 was 82 078 with 22 174 registered for the General Education and Training (GETC) Level qualification, 56 234 for the post literacy programme and 2 947 for the skills programme. The core programmes offered by the CLCs were the GETC Level 1 - 4 numeracy and literacy, post literacy programmes and vocational and skills programmes. The skills programmes offered by the CLCs were not accredited. The College Council was fully functional and operational. Of the 76 065 GETC learners who registered in 2015, 52 813 wrote the exams and 23 252 were absent. The GETC learner performance results for 2015 stood at 31 percent.
4.6.2 Student Representative Council
The students at the CLCs were not equipped to compete globally and the programmes offered were not relevant to the industry needs. There was a high learner drop-out rate and high absenteeism. The conditions of service for lecturers were not conducive. The CLCs lecturers were not given sufficient training in the subjects they taught, and the majority of them were employed on contract. The infrastructure of the CLCs required major expansion and renovations. The buildings were not conducive for learning and most of them did not have the facilities to cater for students with special needs. There were no workshops facilities in the CLCs to offer skills programmes for students.
The curriculum of the CLCs should be revised to be in line with the economic needs of the country. It was difficult for students in the CLCs to articulate to other post-school education and training institutions owing to the programmes offered, some of which some were unaccredited. Students did not have access to Wi-Fi to conduct research, textbooks and bursaries to further their studies. There was no dedicated security personnel appointed to protect the infrastructure and other teaching materials at the CLCs. There were no controlled access at the CLCs and this compromised the safety of students.
The SRC recommended that the CLCs should be allowed to utilise the resources of the TVET College for teaching and learning purpose; the conditions of lecturers should be improved; the curriculum should be revised to meet the student’ needs and the CET sector should be taken seriously like the mainstream education.
4.6.3 Site visit to the Setlakalana Molepo Community Learning Centre, Soweto
The Committee interacted with learners who enrolled for GETC Levels and post-literacy programmes. The learners expressed their gratitude to the CET sector for affording them a second chance opportunity to acquire skills and further their learning. Some of the learners dropped out from the mainstream schooling and because of age, and they could not go back, while others failed Matric and wanted to improve on the failed subjects.
The learners in the GETC Level 4 enrolled in the Community Learning Centre to learn how to read and write. Some indicated that they owned small businesses and they wanted to enhance their financial management and accounting skills. The Community Learning Centre was well poised to provide them with such skills. They expressed their concern about the lack of Matric textbooks.
4.7 Public Service SETA and Gauteng City Region Academy Artisan Training Partnership
4.7.1 Public Service SETA
The meeting was held at the MICT SETA Head Office in Gallagher Estate. The presentation was made by Ms N Qamata, the Acting CEO and highlighted the following: PSETA’s mandate was focused on transversal skills for all national and provincial departments, and dealt with all skills for departments whose core business was unique to government. The total number of the PSETA’s constituent employees was 533 678. The PSETA’s resources were reaching 0.4 percent of the total government workforce. The existing public servants needed to be up-skilled / reskilled for higher levels of performance to improve service delivery. The vacancy rate in the public sector was 11.58 percent in 2016. 26 percent of the public sector employees had not completed schooling, 46 percent did not have higher education at all. Only 6 percent of the public sector employees had post-graduate qualifications. The PSETA’s limited resources were unable to address the huge shortage of skills in the public sector.
The total cost of the PSETA’s skills development projects nationally amounted to R865 million with the majority of the funded project (R348 million) in Gauteng. PSETA spent R312 million on artisan development projects. The Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA) applied to the PSETA to fund 40 artisans in the field of Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic Apprenticeship. The project was approved and the learners were being trained. The programme would save government departments a lot of money if they could appoint the graduates to fix air-condition, unlike outsourcing the services.
4.7.2 Gauteng City Region Academy
The GCRA was established to make a significant contribution in both the public sector development and youth development for the reduction of high unemployment. The GCRA reported to the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and the Office of the Premier with regard to this area of work. The GCRA interventions on youth development included the bursaries for students in higher education institutions and TVET Colleges, partnerships, learnerships, internships, unemployment database, vocational development programmes, career education, work readiness programme and the Harry Gwala programmes.
The GCRA was awarded funding to train 40 artisans in Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic. The programme was run on a core funding model. PSETA contributed R3.2 million and the GCRCA contributed R2.8 million for a period of three years. Learners were recruited from the GCRA unemployment database. The programme required learners who passed their matric with Maths and science or TVET college students with a mechanical or electrical engineering qualification. The delivery of the apprenticeship was based on the willingness of the industry to open its workplaces for learning. The Ifihlile Training Academy was appointed as a service provider to offer the training. The duration of the programme was three years.
4.7.3 Site visit to the Ifihlile Training Academy
The Committee visited the Ifihlile Training Academy, which offered apprenticeship training on Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic Apprenticeship funded by the PSETA in partnership with the Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA). The training programme was accredited by the Manufacturing Engineering and Other Related Service Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA). The apprentices had to complete a minimum of 10 weeks in trade related theory, 32 weeks of off the job practical training and 80 weeks of on the job workplace training under the supervision of a qualified mentor.
The apprentices were given toolboxes free once they entered into a contract with the Academy. The training in Refrigeration Mechanic equipped learners to be ready to fix fridges after the first year. The programme also offered learners with training in air-conditioning and ventilation. This included training in industrial air-condition installation and maintenance, which was one of the occupations in high demand in the country. The minimum requirements for learners to access the programme was a matric certificate with a pass in mathematics and science. Learners were issued with a certificate from the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) upon completion the programme. The academy trained about 40 learners which were separated into two classes of 20 learners each. There was a very low drop-out rate of learners in the programme.
The majority of learners in the programme were graduates from the TVET Colleges, and were unemployed before joining the apprenticeship programme. They indicated that the training programme would enable them to start their own businesses in their communities where there were very few qualified refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanics. They noted that the Refrigeration mechanics were critical to growing the economy. They expressed their gratitude to the PSETA, GCRA and Ifihlile for affording them a life time opportunity of training as apprentices.
The Committee made the following observations:
5.1 National Skills Fund and Eskom Artisan Development Partnership
5.1.1 The partnership between the NSF and Eskom in artisan training was highly commended.
5.1.2 The increase in the number of black female artisans, particularly in the previously male dominated welding trade was highly commended.
5.1.3 There was need to increase the number of a new generation of suitably qualified artisan instructors and assessors to develop an efficient succession plan.
5.1.4 It was critical for Eskom to develop a strong partnership with technical high schools to identify potential learners at an early age.
- The seasonal employment offered to welders by industry was a serious concern given the constant new developments in the trade.
- The plan by Eskom to engage the industry to offer one year internships to the welders to enhance their welding skills as well the entity’s plan to absorb the graduates was commendable.
- Inadequate coordination of the training of artisans offered by State Owned Companies (SOCs) remained a challenge.
- The artisan learners should acquire entrepreneurial and project management training at the Academy to equip them with skills as they plan to open and manage their business and training centres.
5.2.1 It was noted with concern that the institute heavily relied on the manual system for trade test applications and assessments, and the system was vulnerable to corruption.
5.2.2 The high vacancy rate at the institute was noted as a concern.
5.2.3 The institute had few workshops and trade assessors for high demand trades, whilst there is an excess of workshops and trade assessors for low demand trades. This had increased the average lead time from the trade test application received until trade test conducted.
5.2.4 It was noted that the institute had not adequately addressed all the critical findings from the 2010 OMA forensic report on irregularities.
5.2.5 The institute was aware of cases of candidates who had fraudulently acquired their trade test certificates, but did not have its own system to detect or investigate such cases. It relied on complaints from employers.
5.2.6 The institute was not able to account for the high number of artisan learners certificated. However, research would be undertaken to determine the causes.
5.2.7 The institute had old and outdated equipment in some of its workshops, which was no longer relevant to industry needs.
5.2.8 The institute was unable to upgrade its trade test assessment owing to insufficient capacity at the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to support the new programme.
5.2.9 There was a decline in the number of trade test assessments conducted by the institute owing to a large number of privately owned trade test centres accredited by the SETAs.
5.2.10 The institute was the only public trade test centre in the country and also charged the cheapest trade test assessment fee of R245 per candidate.
5.2.11 There was no dedicated funding model for artisan recognition of prior learning (ARPL) at the Department.
5.2.12 The institute contributed only 25 percent to the overall artisans produced by the PSET institutions.
- TETA / PUTCO Bus Company Artisan Development Partnership
- The concentration of the TETA skills development projects in three provinces (Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) was noted as a concern given the huge demand for training in the rural and remote areas.
- The slow pace of gender diversity in the transport sector and artisan training programmes was highlighted as a concern that needed to be addressed.
- It was noted that the training of taxi drivers in road safety programmes was critical and TETA in partnership with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) should prioritise the training as recommended by the Committee in 2015.
- PUTCO Bus Company was urged to improve on its maintenance and road worthiness of the buses.
- The TETA Learnership for Bus Drivers was commended given its success and the high absorption rate of candidates that completed the learnership.
- It was noted with concern that only 11 percent of the total workforce at PUTCO Bus Company were females.
- PUTCO Bus was commended for its good apprenticeship programme for Diesel Mechanics, Auto Electricians, placements of TVET College and university students and graduates for work-integrated learning and internship.
- ETDP SETA / Edutel Youth Development Learnership Partnership
- The ETDP SETA did not have an adequate budget to meet the huge demand for skills development programmes in the entire ETDP sector.
- The ETDP SETA / Edutel Youth Development Learnership was highly commended given its impact in changing the lives of unemployed young people.
- The delays in the issuing of certificates to learners was noted as a concern since it delayed the learners’ opportunities in accessing employment and other further learning opportunities.
- Non-compliance by government departments in paying skills levies to the ETDP SETA was noted as a concern. This was further compounded by the gaps in the Skills Development Levies Act, which exempted any public service employer in the national or provincial sphere of government; or any national or provincial public entity, if 80 percent or more of its expenditure is defrayed directly or indirectly from funds voted by Parliament from paying 1 percent skills levies.
- The high failure rate among Matriculants was noted as a serious concern for the country, and the matric rewrite programme was not effective in offering young people an opportunity to obtain their National Senior Certificate (NSC).
- The high number of unqualified CET lecturers was raised as concern given the Department’s plan to expand the programmes offered in the CET sector.
- ETDP SETA was requested to submit a breakdown list of all its projects across the country.
South West Gauteng TVET College
- The college did not have a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or an Assistant Director for finance, and the auditing process for 2015 was negatively affected as a result. Overall, the college had a serious challenge of filling vacant funded posts timeously, and this had resulted in an underspending of R45 million which had to be returned to the National Treasury.
- The college’s budget for 2015/16 was not commensurate to support the total enrolment of almost 30 000 students. The college estimated that it had a funding shortfall of R198 million to fully support its enrolment.
- The college experienced serious challenges of inadequate infrastructure and facilities to support students with disabilities. High lecturer student ratio and overcrowding in classrooms owing to a shortage of adequate infrastructure to support the student enrolment was noted as a serious concern.
- The relationship between the college’s management and labour unions was marked by distrust owing to a number of unresolved labour disputes.
- Despite a significant progress by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), Umalusi and the Department in resolving the NC(V) certification backlog, the college still had a challenge of pending results and outstanding NC(V) certificates for students dating back to 2012. The college was requested to send the names of the affected students.
5.6 Gauteng Community Education and Training College: PQ Vundla & Setlakalana Molapo Community Learning Centres
- The CET sector was seriously underfunded and there was no suitable funding to support teaching and learning needs. 95 percent of the R2 billion total budget for the CET sector was allocated for compensation of the employees’ costs and the remaining 5 percent was for operations.
- The CET sector had a high number of learners (68.7% of total enrolment) enrolled for the matric rewrite programme, but there was no funding from the Department of Basic Education to support this function.
- The Department inherited dilapidated infrastructure from the provincial government, which was used as the CLCs. The Department did not have sufficient funds to refurbish the inherited infrastructure.
- The CLCs that did not have their own infrastructure were expected to pay rental tariffs to the School Governing Bodies (SGBs) for the use of schools for teaching and learning.
- Some of the CLCs faced the possibilities of having their power cut by Eskom due to unsettled electricity bills and other rates.
- There was no clarity as to who was responsible for the payment of historic municipal debts incurred by the former primary schools inherited by the CLCs. It was noted that discussions were underway between the DHET Regional Coordinator with the Gauteng Department of Public Works.
- There was a high drop-out rate of learners, particularly in the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) Level 4 programme. The CLCs did not have tracking mechanisms for learners who dropped-out.
- There was a serious shortage of textbooks and other learning materials for learners, particularly, for the matric re-write programme.
- There was a challenge with the issuing of certificates because the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) IT system was not able to consolidate learner examination data written in different exam cycles. The CLCs administration support staff experienced challenges in capturing the outstanding marks, owing to the absence of suitable IT system for this function.
- Unfavourable conditions of service of lecturers had resulted in high staff turn-over in the CET sector to mainstream education.
- Some of the skills programme offered by the CLCs were not accredited and this made it difficult for learners to articulate to other PSET institutions.
- The CLCs did not have the necessary infrastructure such as workshops for the skills programmes they offered to learners.
- The Community Learning Centres were still not sure about their expanded mandate as the new institutional type, in particular, their role with regard to the communities they served.
- Public Service SETA / GCRA & Ifihlile Training Academy
- It was noted with serious concern that the PSETA could only assist 0.4 percent of the public workforce owing to its limited financial resources.
- The non-payment of the 1 percent skills levy by government departments was noted as a serious concern given the huge demand for skills development in the public sector.
- The accessibility of the PSETA was noted as a serious concern since it did not have regional offices in other eight provinces.
- The concentration of the PSETA projects, particularly in the more urban provinces was noted as a concern.
- The PSETA was commended for funding the Refrigeration Mechanic artisan programme since it was in demand and formed part of the scarce and critical skill list.
The oversight visit of the Committee specifically focused on the role played by the post-school education and training (PSET) institutions in the training and development of artisans to grow the economy. The National Development Plan (NDP) had set a target for South Africa to produce 30 000 artisans annually by 2030, and this was a massive target, which required collaborations from all artisan development role-players to achieve. The Committee embarked on an oversight visit to the NSF and SETA funded projects in Gauteng to assess whether the investment into the artisan development projects yielded the intended outcomes, as per the government priorities.
The oversight visit to the NSF and SETA funded projects was the first of its kind for the Committee. Members had an opportunity to interact with the role-players involved in artisan training as well the apprentices who were involved in the training programmes. The oversight visit also included the site visits to the workshops where practical learning was offered to the students. The students were also given an opportunity to demonstrate their acquired skills to members. Most of the students who interacted with Committee members indicated that the apprenticeship and learnerships funded by the NSF and the SETAs were a life changing opportunity that would enhance their opportunities of gaining employment and even starting their own businesses.
As part of the oversight visit, the Committee also visited one TVET College and the Community Learning Centres around Soweto. The Committee observed that the TVET and Community Education and Training sectors were underfunded, while the demands for the skills offered by these institutions was growing. The absence of a dedicated infrastructure funding for both the TVET and CET sectors remained a challenge for their future expansion. It was also concerning that some of the programmes offered at these institutions were not relevant to the skills needs of the industry, and the students struggled to find employment after completing their studies. The Committee committed to further engage with the Department to deal with the urgent matters that affected the TVET and CET sectors.
The Committee recommends that the Minister of Higher Education and Training consider the following:
7.1 National Skills Fund and Eskom Artisan Development Partnership
7.1.1 Strong partnerships should be created between Eskom and the surrounding Technical High Schools to expose learners to the apprenticeships programmes offered by the Eskom Academy of Learning (EAL);
7.1.2 There is a need for better coordination in the training of artisans, particularly by the State Owned Companies (SOCs) including the exit plans for artisan learners;
7.1.3 Engagements with the industry should be undertaken to improve the working conditions, particularly for welders since they are mostly employed on short term contracts; and
7.1.4 There is a need for the development of a new generation of artisan trainers given the high number of ageing artisan trainers.
7.2 Institute for the National Development of Learnerships Employment Skills and Labour Assessments (INDLELA)
7.2.1 Interventions should be made to engage the SITA on the procurement costs of its IT system.
7.2.2 The filling of outstanding vacancies should be prioritised, especially the appointment of assessors for the trades that are in high demand;
7.2.3 The institute should convert the workshop for low demand trades to high demand trades, in order to achieve its targets of the average lead time from the trade test application received until trade test conducted;
7.2.4 The 2010 OMA forensic audit report on allegations of theft and fraud at INDLELA should be furnished to the Committee;
7.2.5 The procurement of modern equipment to conduct trade tests should be prioritised, since the workshops had outdated equipment;
7.2.6 The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems of the institute should be upgraded to eliminate the use of manual system and to prevent corruption and fraudulent activities in trade assessment from recurring; and
7.2.7 The Department in partnership with other State Owned Entities involved in artisan training should develop and fund a strategy towards a new generation of trade assessors, given that the country was facing a challenge of ageing trade assessors.
7.3 Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) and PUTCO Bus Company Artisan Development Partnership
7.3.1 The funding of artisan training and development programmes should also be spread to rural areas;
7.3.2 The transport industry should create an enabling environment for females to work, given the low representation of women in the sector;
7.3.3 The training of female candidates in the Diesel Mechanic and Auto-Electrician trades should be expedited.
7.4 Education Training and Development Practices SETA and Edutel Youth Development Learnership Partnership
7.4.1 The ETDP SETA / Edutel Youth Development Learnership should be expanded to other provinces given its impact in changing the lives of the young people;
7.4.2 The Committee should engage the National Treasury on the non-compliance of some of the Government departments in the payment of levies to the ETDP SETA and other government related SETAs;
7.4.3 The delays in the issuing of certificates to learners that have completed their learnerships should be addressed;
7.4.4 The ETDP SETA should partner with the DHET in developing the curriculum suitable for the needs of adults and youth in the Community Education and Training (CET) sector; and
7.4.5 Adequate funding should be allocated for the matric re-write programme given its huge demand.
7.5 South West Gauteng TVET College
7.5.1 The Department should brief the Committee on 12 October 2016 on the improvement plans regarding the challenges raised by the stakeholders at the South West Gauteng TVET College; and a follow-up meeting should be convened with the South West Gauteng TVET College and the Department in January 2017 to receive a progress report towards addressing the challenges raised;
7.5.2 A meeting should be convened with the Department, Umalusi and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations to address the issue of curriculum review for the National Certificate Vocational (NC(V);
7.5.3 The funded vacant posts should be filled to capacitate the college, and to eliminate the underspending on compensation of employees’ budget;
7.5.4 The Department should address the issue of outstanding NC(V) certificates and pending results for students;
- The Department should facilitate a dialogue between the college management and the unions to address with the ongoing conflict between the stakeholders;
- The college’ management should develop a platform for the consideration of all the stakeholders grievances, and communication between management and stakeholders should be improved; and
- Additional funding should be allocated to the college to support its student enrolment requirements.
7.6 Community Education and Training (CET)
7.6.1 Additional funding should be allocated to the CET sector to support its expansion;
7.6.2 The conditions of service for the CET lecturers should be improved to reduce the high staff turn-over;
7.6.3 The Department should engage with the Gauteng provincial government to resolve the historic debts inherited by the Community Learning Centres (CLCs) due to the migration process;
7.6.4 The Department should resolve the challenge of non-availability of duplicate certificates for CET qualifications;
7.6.5 The Department should procure a functional system for consolidation of the outstanding marks for CET examinations;
7.6.6 SETAs should work closely with the CET sector to fund and accredit the skills development programmes offered by the CLCs;
7.6.7 The employment of suitably qualified lecturers should be prioritised for the CET sector; and
7.6.8 The Committee should confer with the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Recreation on the funding for the Matric Rewrite Programme/ Matric Second Chance in the CLCs; and to also engage on the reasons for the mainstream schools not to allow those who failed Matric to repeat at the their respective schools.
7.7 Public Service SETA and Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA) Artisan Development Partnership
7.7.1 Government departments should be encouraged to pay the 1 percent skills levy to the PSETA to address the need for skills development in the public sector; and
7.7.2 PSETA’s skills development programmes should be extended to rural areas where there is high unemployment and huge demand for training.
Report to be considered.
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