ATC180530: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Higher Education and Training during the house Sitting of 9 June 2015, as adopted on 30 May 2018
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 9 JUNE 2015, AS ADOPTED ON 30 MAY 2018
The Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) having requested the Honourable Minister of Higher Education and Training to appear before it and provide a progress report on the implementation or fulfilment of the executive undertakings made or given, on the floor of the House, during the Policy Debate on Budget Vote 15: Higher Education and Training, reports as follows:
On 9 June 2015, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education and Training (Minister) made the following executive undertakings, in the House, during the Policy Debate on Budget Vote 15: Higher Education and Training
1.1 Executive Undertaking 1:” We are also pleased to announce that with the support of a number of partners, we have established the first Centre for African Languages Teaching that has been established as part of the University of Mpumalanga’s Siyabuswa Campus. This Centre will promote research into teaching African Languages, particularly the dominant languages of Mpumalanga province, IsiNdebele and SiSwati”.
1.2 Executive Undertaking 2: “The Census tells that there are 18 million South Africans who need Adult Basic Education and Training of one kind or the other. For this reason, I will therefore establish a fully-fledged branch on adult education and community college education in my department, headed by a deputy director-general”.
1.3 Executive Undertaking 3: “We are also pleased that we are going to expand what we call Higher Certificate, basically targeting students who have not made it in matric to be able to bridge to go to university or college or so that some of them to actually get employment”.
On 29 February 2016, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) referred the above mentioned executive undertakings, made or given by the Minister, to the Committee to scrutinise and ensure their proper implementation. And thereafter the Committee extended an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under his respective portfolio.
- MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE
On 6 September 2017, the Minister, together with the relevant officials of his Department, appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing above stated executive undertakings.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting with the Minister:
2.1 Hon M T Mhlanga, ANC, Mpumalanga (Acting Chairperson);
2.2 Hon D L Ximbi, ANC, Western Cape;
2.3 Hon T Wana, ANC, Eastern Cape;
2.4 Hon G M Manopole, ANC, Northern Cape;
2.5 Hon M Chetty, DA, Kwa-Zulu Natal;
2.6 Hon B A Engelbrecht, DA, Gauteng; and
2.7 Hon T J Mokwele, EFF, North West.
The Committee Members present, at the meeting, were supported by the following Committee officials:
2.8 Dr M Gondwe, Content Advisor;
2.9 Adv. T Sterris, Committee Researcher;
2.10 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary; and
2.11 Ms N Fakier, Executive Secretary to the Acting Committee Chairperson.
The following representatives of the Department were present at the meeting:
2.12 Hon B E Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training (Minister Nzimande);
2.13 Mr F Toefy, Chief Director;
2.14 Mr L V Sizani, Special Advisor to Minister Nzimande;
2.15 Mr N Nqandela, Special Advisor to Minister Nzimande; and
2.16 Mr B Bingwa, Parliamentary Liaison Officer.
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
In his progress report to the Committee the Minister reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1: The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) supported the establishment of the Centre for African Languages at the Siyabuswa Campus of University of Mpumalanga (Centre), in partnership with the University of Johannesburg and with the funding support from ELMA Philanthropies and United States Aid for International Development (USAID). The Centre was established to address the decline in the teaching of African languages in the country. This decline has huge implications for the foundational phase of education given that teachers in that phase of education use mostly the mother tongue as the language of instruction. Centre is operational and is mandated to research African Languages Teaching and to implement programmes that enable the development of teachers for African languages, particularly the dominant languages of the Mpumalanga Province, namely IsiNdebele and SiSwati. When the Centre first opened its doors it was training only 100 students but this number has now increased to 400 students.
- Executive Undertaking 2: The DHET has established a Community Basic Education and Training Branch. DHET has also appointed an interim acting Deputy Director General (DDG) and will formally advertise the post of DDG: Community Education and Training (CET) during September 2017. This is the first time in the country that a DDG will be appointed for Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). The DHET has further established 9 CET Colleges. These colleges will service and support these adult learning centres and council members for all 9 Provinces who are school principals have been appointed. The underfunding of the Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) mandate of DHET negatively impacts the smooth functioning of the branch. The DHET inherited ABET centres from the Provinces and these were formally transferred to DHET on 1 April 2015. ABET sector is a highly fragmented and uneven sector as most of the centres that the DHET inherited have no premises of their own and are compelled to use churches, halls and community centres. The centres are focussed on improving one’s formal education however South African adults need a wider variety of opportunities not only the access to formal education. DHET would like to build into ABET vocational training.
- Executive Undertaking 3: The DHET is working with the Department of Basic Education to introduce a schooling system that will strengthen and develop mid-level skills of a more vocational nature and this will ensure the Department receives relatively ready-made students. TVET colleges are primarily focused on NQF levels l 2-4 qualifications and there has been increasing pressure on TVET Colleges to deliver more qualifications at NQF levels 5 and 6. This is mainly due to the fact that access to universities is restricted and existing opportunities to pursue Higher Certificates and Degrees are limited compared to the degree option. It is also clear that there is a need to develop mid-level skills of a more vocational nature to fulfil the requirements of industry. Many students who only have a Higher Certificate or Diploma pass often find themselves at TVET Colleges looking for opportunities of further study. The DHET has no further room to reprioritise it projects and make further budget allocations towards the Higher Learning Certificates Educational programme since it is under heavy budget constraints due to the fact that it has had to contribute a total of R 5 billion from its Skills Fund to fund the “Fees Must Fall Campaign”.
Notwithstanding this, the DHET has implemented initiatives in order to address this situation:
- Universities have developed a “bridging” programme, which can assist students with some foundational knowledge to enable them to take up full degree programmes. The University of Free State has been a key driver of this process.
- Universities have also developed Higher Certificates, which could be delivered at TVET Colleges. This process requires that colleges and universities to set up specific Memoranda of Understanding to govern the roles and responsibilities of the relationship. To date there have been more than 12 such partnerships established between colleges and universities. The success has, however, been somewhat varied. Funding of these programmes remain problematic, as they are primarily university programmes which are delivered at colleges.
- The TVET colleges sector has worked with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) to develop and implement more occupational qualifications at level 5. To date, QCTO has registered more than 150 programmes. There has been a specific emphasis to develop more qualifications at NQF level 5. A number of pilot programmes are underway to test and refine the implementation of occupational programmes at TVET colleges.
- OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report and various submissions made by the Minister in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee makes the following observations and key findings:
- The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) supported the establishment of the Centre for African Languages at the Siyabuswa Campus of University of Mpumalanga.
- DHET has established a Community Basic Education and Training Branch and further appointed an interim acting Deputy Director General (DDG).
- The DHET will formally advertise the post of DDG: Community Education and Training (CET) in or around September 2017.
- The DHET has established nine Community Educational Training Colleges which will give support and services to the Adult Basic Education.
- The DHET is working with the Department of Basic Education in an attempt to introduce a schooling system that will strengthen and develop mid-level skills of a more vocational nature and this will ensure the Department receives relatively ready-made students.
- The DHET has no further room to reprioritise it projects and make further budget allocations towards the Higher Learning Certificates Educational programme since it is under heavy budget constraints due to the fact that it to contribute a total of R 5 billion from its Skills Fund to fund the “Fees Must Fall Campaign”.
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Committee, lastly, observes that the executive undertakings have been adequately implemented and therefore recommends that they be closed.
Report to be considered
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