ATC210511: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology on Consideration of the Budget Vote 17: Higher Education and Training, Dated 11 May 2021

Higher Education, Science and Technology

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ON CONSIDERATION OF THE BUDGET VOTE 17: HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING, DATED 11 MAY 2021

 

1. INTRODUCTION AND MANDATE OF THE COMMITTEE, THE DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING AND ITS ENTITIES

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology (hereinafter referred to as the Committee), having considered the Revised Strategic Plans 2020 - 2025 and the 2021/22 Annual Performance Plans(APP) and budgets of the Department of Higher Education and Training (hereinafter referred to as the Department), the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), reports as follows:

 

1.1. Purpose of the Budget Vote 17 Report

The Report accounts for the work done by the Committee in the consideration of the Strategic Plans 2020 – 2025and 2021/22 Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and budgets of the Department, the NSFAS, the CHE, the SAQA and the QCTO in accordance with Section 27(1) of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act. No 29 of 1999), and as referred by the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) to the Committee in terms of Rule 338 for consideration and reporting.

1.2. Mandate of the Committee and DHET

Section 55(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa stipulates that “the National Assembly (NA) must provide for mechanisms (a) to ensure that all executive organs of state in the national sphere of government are accountable to it; and (b) to maintain oversight of (i) national executive authority, including the implementation of the legislation; and (ii) any organ of state.” Rule 227 of the Rules of the National Assembly (9th edition) provides for mechanisms contemplated in section 55(2) of the Constitution.

The Department derives its mandate from section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the following legislation: Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No.101 of 1997), National Student Financial Scheme Act, 1999 (Act No. 56 of 1999), Continuing Education and Training Act, 2006 (Act No. 16 of 2006), National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008), Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998), Skills Development Levies Act, 1999 (Act No. 9 of 1999) and the General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act, 2001 (Act No. 58 of 2001). The Committee oversees the implementation of the above-mentioned legislation.

1.3. Method

The Revised Strategic Plans 2020 - 25 and the 2021/22 APPs and budgets of the Department, the CHE,QCTO, NSFAS and SAQAwere considered against the background of key government policy documents, including, amongst others, the National Development Plan (NDP), the 2019 – 2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), and the 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA).The Committee had briefing sessions with the Department, the CHE and the QCTO on 4 May 2021 and SAQA and NSFAS on 5 May 2021 to consider their Strategic Plans and APPs.

 

2. OVERVIEW OF THE KEY POLICY FOCUS AREAS RELEVANT FOR THE DEPARTMENT AND THE ENTITIES

2.1.Key government policies

2.1.1. National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030

The NDP identifies the decent work, education and capacity of the state as particularly important priorities. For the post-school education and training sector, the NDP envisages that by 2030, South Africans should have access to education and training of the highest quality. The education, training and innovation system should cater for different needs and produce highly skilled individuals; and graduates of the post-school system should have adequate skills and knowledge to meet the current and future needs of the economy and society.

2.1.2. White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (WPPSET)

The White Paper articulates a vision for an integrated system of post-school education and training, with all institutions playing their role as parts of a coherent but differentiated system. The White Paper sets out strategies to expand the current provision of education and training in South Africa, to improve its quality, to integrate the various strands of the post-school system. Interventions are set in the White Paper for implementation by different sectors withinPost-School Education and Training. The Department has developed a Draft National Plan for Post Education and Training (PSET) from the White Paper, which will be an implementation plan with measurable targets for each sub-system of the sector. The main policy objectives are:

  • A post-school system that can assist in building a fair, equitable, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa;
  • A single, coordinated post-school education and training system, expanded access, improved quality and increased diversity of provision; and
  • A post-school education and training that is responsive to the needs of individual citizens, employers in both public sectors, as well as broader societal and development objectives.

 

2.1.3. Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2019 – 2024

In 2019, the new Administration identified seven Apex Priorities derived from its electoral mandate and the 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA) to focus on interventions for the 2019 – 2024 MTSF period. The 2019 – 2024 MTSF is a five-year strategic plan of government, and forms the second five-year implementation phase of the NDP. The Department of Higher Education and Training is responsible for contributing to the realisation of the policy priorities as outlined in the MTSF Priority 3: Education, Skills and Health. For the 2020 – 2025 planning period, the Department will focus on these outcomes as follows:

  • Expanded access to PSET opportunities;
  • Improved success and efficiency in the PSET system;
  • Improved quality of PSET provisioning;
  • A responsive PSET system; and
  • Excellent business operations within the DHET

 

In implementing Priority 3, the Department will be supported by the Department of Science and Innovation, the Department of Employment and Labour and the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

2.1.4. 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA)

On 11 February 2021, the President addressed South African citizens during his State of the Nation Address. The February 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA) key focus areaswere the following:

  • To defeat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic;
  • To accelerate economic recovery;
  • To implement economic reforms to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth; and
  • Fight corruption and strengthen the State.

 

One of the key focus areas of the February 2021 SONA remains inclusive growth and addresses critical priorities for the Higher Education and Training sector. There has been a steady improvement in the reach of education; although it is acknowledged that it is inadequate. The continued focus on inclusive growth is about the critical actions that are required to build a capable state and place the economy on the path to recovery.

 

In response to the huge challenge of youth unemployment the country faces, the President announced that the Department of Small Business Development would provide Grant funding and business support to 1 000 young entrepreneurs within 100 days. While the programme had to be put on hold due to the Coronavirus restrictions, it nevertheless managed to reach its target of 1 000 businesses by International Youth Day on 12 August 2020. This provides a firm foundation for efforts to support 15 000 start-ups by 2024.

 

3. OVERVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT’S REVISED STRATEGIC PLAN 2020 – 2025

The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation noted that the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Revised 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan is the implementation plan for the amended 2019 – 2024 MTSF due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and worsening of the economic environment. The Minister further indicated that the pandemic has presented a set of unprecedented challenges, while simultaneously continuing to focus on the transformation and expansion of opportunities in the Post-School Education and Training.

The Department’s Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025 was revised as follows:

3.1. Downward adjustment of the MTSF 2019 – 2024 targets in the following Outcomes

3.1.1. Expanded access to PSET opportunities

  • Number of student enrolments at TVET colleges annually, from 710 000 to 620 000.
  • Number of students enrolled at the CET colleges annually, from 555 194 to 388 782.

 

3.1.2. Improved success and efficiency of the PSET system

  • Number of TVET students enrolled in the Prevocational Learning Programme (PLP) annually, from 7 000 to 4 000.

3.1.3. Improved Quality of the PSET Provisioning

  • Number of New Generation of Academics Programme (nGAP) posts allocated to universities every year, from 100 to 85.

3.1.4. A responsive PSET system

  • Percentage of TVET college lecturing staff appropriately placed in industry or in exchange programmes, from 33% to 18%.

3.2. Inclusion of MTSF 2019 – 2024 outcome indicators and targets that have been excluded in the original Strategic Plan

3.2.1. Improved quality of the PSET Provisioning

Table 1: Inclusion of MTSF outcome indicators and targets that did not reflect in the original Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025

2019 – 2024 MTSF policy priorities

MTSF policy priorities as reflected in the DHET’s original  2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan and Revised Strategic Plan

Outcome Indicator

Target by 2024

Outcome Indicator

Target by 2024 as per original Strategic Plan

Target by 2024 as per Revised Strategic Plan

OUTCOME 3: IMPROVED QUALITY OF THE PSET PROVISIONING

Percentage of PSET institutions (universities, TVET, CET, SETAs) that meet the standard of good governance

95% of institutions

Percentage of TVET colleges that

meet the standard of good governance

N/A

95%

Percentage of universities that meet the

standard of good governance

N/A

95%

Percentage of CETCs that meet the

standard of good governance

N/A

95%

Percentage of SETAs that meet the

standard of good governance

N/A

95%

 

In addition to the MTSF system targets included in the DHET’s Revised Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025, the Department has also included new indicators and targets in Outcome 4: A responsive PSET System as follows:

  • Number of lecturers participating in project-based lecturer capacity-building programmes in engineering (electrical, plumbing and mechanical), (300 by 2024). Number of TVET colleges with 4IR centres of excellence established, (50 by 2024).
  • Number of lecturers participating in digital literacy programmes, (6 000 by 2024).

3.2. MTSF Outcome indicators and targets that do not reflect in the Revised Strategic Plan 2020 - 2025

Notwithstanding the inclusion of some of the MTSF outcome indicators and targets that were not reflected in the original Strategic Plan of the Department, it should be noted that there are some of the MTSF outcome indicators and targets that have not been included in the Revised Strategic Plan 2020 -2025.

3.2.1. Expanded access to PSET opportunities:

  • Number of learners registered for SETA supported skills learnerships annually (116 000).
  • Number of learners registered for SETA-supported internships annually (18 000).

In relation to the above outcome indicators and targets, the Department reflected only the number of learners who will complete these programmes.

3.2.2. Improved quality of the PSET provisioning

  • Number of protocols signed with industry to place TVET college students and lecturers for workplace experience, (target: all TVET colleges sign protocols with industry and place learners for workplace experience accordingly).

 

 

4. 2021/22 MEDIUM-TERM EXPENDITURE FRAMEWORK (MTEF) BUDGET

4.1. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget and the 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan (APP)

Table 1: Summary of the overall Budget Allocation and Expenditure Estimates: 2021/22MTEF

Programme

Budget

Nominal Increase / Decrease

Real Increase / Decrease

Nominal Percent change in

Real Percent change in

R million

2020/21

 

2021/22

2021/22

2021/22

2021/22

2021/22

Programme 1: Administration

  402,2

  504,0

  101,8

  81,5

25,31%

20,26%

Programme 2: Planning, Policy and Strategy

  189,0

  230,7

  41,7

  32,4

22,06%

17,14%

Programme 3: University Education

 78 321,5

 81 223,3

 2 901,8

-372,1

3,70%

-0,48%

Programme 4: Technical and Vocational Education and Training

 12 652,2

 13 096,2

  444,0

-83,9

3,51%

-0,66%

Programme 5: Skills Development

  282,6

  307,9

  25,3

  12,9

8,95%

4,56%

Programme 6: Community Education and Training

 2 247,4

 2 422,0

  174,6

  77,0

7,77%

3,43%

Sub-total

94 094,9

97 784,1

 3 689,2

- 252,2

3,9%

-0,27%

Direct charges against National Revenue Fund

10 174,6 

17 812,9 

7 638,3 

6 920,3 

75,07% 

68,02% 

 

Total expenditure estimates

104 269,5

115 596,9

11 327,4

6 668,0

10,86%

6,39%

 

The Department’s budget over the MTEF period amounts to R358 billion. The allocation for the 2021/22 financial year amounts toR115,5 billion. The budget increased in nominal terms by R11,3 billion or 10.9%, from the 2020/21 adjusted appropriation of R104,2 billion.When factoring in inflation, the budget increased by 6.4%. The budget is made up of R97,7 billion from voted funds (Department’s programme budget) and R17,8 billion from Direct Charges against the National Revenue Fund, for Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the National Skills Fund (NSF). Allocations from voted funds decreased in real terms by 3.9% when factoring in inflation, while Direct Charges against National Revenue Fund have increased from the previous financial year by 68.02% in real terms.The Department’s total budget, including Direct Charges, is projected to grow by an average growth rate of 5.5% between 2020/21 and 2023/24 MTEF period, from R107,0 billion in 2020/21 to R122,2 billion in 2023/24.

 

The allocation for spending on transfers and subsidies constitutes 90.49%(R104,6 billion) of the R115.5 billion budget of the Department. Allocations for transfers and subsidies to the Departmental agencies and accounts and higher education institutions, amounting to R99,1 billion (86%), continue to dominate the budget of the Department. Transfers and subsidies budget is projected to grow at an average growth rate of 5.5% between 2020/21 and 2023/24 MTEF period. An allocation amounting to R10,9 billion for spending on current payments constitutes the second-highest spending, or 9.5% of the Department’s budget. The budget is made up of R10,311 billion for compensation of employees and R666,1 million for goods and services.The current payments budget increased by 8.91% from the 2020/21 allocation and it is projected to grow at an average growth rate of 5.0% between 2020/21 and 2023/24. Payments for capital amounts to R18,0 million. The budget decreased by 22.75% and it is also projected to decrease in 2022/23 to R16,5 million and grow marginally by R0,5 million to R17,0 million in 2023/24.

 

Cabinet has approved reductions to the Department’s baseline amounting to R24,6 billion over the MTEF period, to be effected on transfers and subsidies (R19,6 billion), compensation of employees (R4,6 billion), and goods and services (R290,2 million). These reductions include R6,8 billion on the allocation to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for loans and bursaries, R5,0 billion on university subsidies, and R947,1 million on TVET college infrastructure grants.

The National Treasury notes in the 2021 Budget Review that in the post‐school education and training sector, slower growth in subsidies and grants for universities, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will require a review of student enrolment growth and bursary allowances. Institutions will need to contain costs, including staff numbers and salaries, and develop ways of using information and communication technology (ICT) more effectively to enhance blended learning.

4.2. Overview and assessment of the 2021/21MTEF budget allocation per programme and the 2021/22 performance targets

4.2.1. Programme 1: Administration

The purpose of this programme is to provide strategic leadership, management and support services for the Department. The Programmehas five budget sub-programmes,namely, Department Management, Corporate Management Services, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Internal Audit and Office Accommodation.

4.2.1.1.Overview and assessment of the 2020/21 MTEF budget allocation

The Programme has a total budget of R1,4 billion over the MTEF period. For the 2021/22 financial year, the total budget amounts to R504,0 million, which represents 0.52% of the Department’s total voted funds. The programme’s 2021/21 budget increases by a nominal amount of R101,8 million from R402,2 million in 2021/22. This represents, when considering inflation, an increase of 20.26%.

The bulk of the budget of this programme, R232,5 million or 46.13% is apportioned to sub-programme 2: Corporate Services. The sub-programme is responsible for providing corporate services management support to the Department and colleges in support of the attainment of its strategic objectives.  Sub-programmes 3: Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Office Accommodation receive the second and third highest at 22.92% (R115,5 million) and 21.59% (R108,8 million), respectively. The programme’s budget is projected to decrease in the outer two years of the 2021/22 MTEF to R480,9 million in 2022/23 and R495,7 million in 2023/24.

 

For 2021/22, the allocation for spending on current payments amounts to R495,3 million. The budget is made up of R268,3 million for compensation of employees and R227,9 million for goods and services. Notably, the bulk of the budget for goods and services, R64,5 million is apportioned to operating leases, followed by R44,3 million for computer services and R42,8 million for Consultants: Business and Advisory Services. The allocation for spending on Consultants: Business and Advisory services increased significantly by 71.26%, from R12,3 million allocated in 2020/21.Notably, the budget for this line item is projected to decrease significantly in the outer two years of the MTEF period to R13,4 million in 2022/23 and R14,0 million in 2023/24.

 

4.2.1.2. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 performance targets

The programme is responsible for the MTSF outcome focusing on Excellent business operations within the DHET. There are seven output indicators and seven targets planned for the 2021/22 financial year.

For the 2020/21 financial year, the programme has seven output indicators and seven predetermined targets.The Branch will, amongst others, ensure the development of demand and procurement for 2022/23and get it approved by the Director-General by 31 March 2022; ensure that 100% of valid invoices received from creditors are paid within 30 days; work towards obtaining an unqualified audit opinion; to achieve an average of 120 days to fill an advertised post per annum. The Branch strives towards resolving 100% of disciplinary cases and ensure 98% network connectivity uptime and conclude 100% of investigations on irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure within 180 days. 

4.2.2. Programme 2: Planning, Policy and Strategy

The programme provides strategic direction in the development, implementation and monitoring of departmental policies and the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa. The Programme hassix budget sub-programmes, namely, Programme Management; Human Resource Development Council of South Africa; Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; International Relations; Legal and Legislative Services and Social Inclusion and Quality.

 

4.2.2.1. Overview and assessment of the 2020/21 MTEF budget allocation

The programme’s budget over the 2021/22 MTEF amounts to R695,5 million. For the 2020/21 financial year, the programme has a total budget of R230,7 million, which increased, when adjusted for inflation, by 17.14%from the previous financial year allocation of R189,0 million. The programme’s budget constitutes 0.24% of the Department’s totalvoted funds. The programme’s budget is projected to decrease slightly to R230,2 million in 2022/23 and increase slightly to R234,6 million in 2023/24.

The Programme will focus its spending on monitoring and implementing policies on social inclusion, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and the provision of reports aimed at supporting decision making regarding improving the responsiveness of the PSET system during the medium-term.

The bulk of the budget of this programme, 59.08% or R136,3 million of the programme’s total budget is apportioned to sub-programme 6: Social Inclusion and Quality. The sub-programme is responsible for promoting access to PSET opportunities and participation by students in education and training programmes; manages the development, implementation, evaluation and maintenance of policy, programmes and systems for CDSs, social inclusion, open learning and the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), and monitors the implementation of these policies. The sub-programme budget increase in real terms by 9.64% or R11,5 million.

 

Sub-programmes 3: Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation receives the second-highest allocation of R24,4 million, representing 12.7% of the programme’s total budget. The sub-programme monitors and evaluates the policy outputs of the Department; coordinates research in the fields of higher education and training; and ensures that education policies, plans and legislation are developed into systems.

 

In terms of economic classifications, an amount of R123,0 million is apportioned for current payments, of which R100,9 million is for compensation of employees and R22,1million is for goods and services. The bulk of the budget on goods and services allocation, R10.4 million is apportioned for travel and subsistence, followed by R5,4 million for legal services.

 

An amount of R107,0 million is apportioned for transfers and subsidies, of which R82,8 million is allocated for Departmental agencies and accounts, which is the grant for the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), R20,1 million for Higher Health and R4,2 million to foreign governments and international organisations (India-Brazil-South Africa Trilateral Commission and Commonwealth of Learning).

 

4.2.2.3. Overview and assessment of the 2020/21 performance targets

The programme contributes to the interventions to achieving four of the five MTSF outcomes of the DHET, namely,expanded access to PSET opportunities; improved success and efficiency of the PSET system; improved quality of PSET provisioning and a responsive PSET system.

For the 2021/22 financial year, the programme has 15 output indicators and 15 targets. In support of the Department’s aim to expand access to PSET opportunities, the programme will, amongst others, produce a report of the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on multi-modal, blended learning and get it approved by the Minister by 31 March 2022; to ensure the availability of five courses or subjects on the National Open Learning System (NOLS) by 31 March 2022, produce a baseline report for articulation implementation between TVET and universities and get it approved by the Director-General. The programme also planned to have two new agreements on international scholarships entered with foreign countries per annum and produce a report on the implementation of Social Inclusion in the PSET system and get it approved by the DG.

 

In improving the success and efficiency of the PSET system, the programme will publish a reporton PSET Statistics and produce a report on the implementation of a national integrated CDS system and get it approved by the DG. Additionally, the Branch will develop an E-learning/ open learning strategy in PSET and get it approved by the DG, to have the NQF Amendment Bill approved by Parliament by 31 March 2022.

 

In ensuring a responsive PSET system, the Branch planned to have a report on Skills Supply and Demand and approved by the DG and to have a monitoring report on priority skills approved by the Minister by 31 March 2022. 

 

4.2.3. Programme 3: University Education

The programme develops and coordinate policy and regulatory frameworks for an effective and efficient university education system and to provide financial and other support to universities, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, the Council on Higher Education and national institutes for higher education.

This programme has six budget sub-programmes, namely, Programme Management, University Planning and Institutional Funding, University Governance and Management Support, Higher Education Policy Development and Research, Teaching, Learning and Research Development and Universities Subsidies.

 

 

 

4.2.3.1. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 MTEF budget allocation

Over the 2021/22 MTEF period, the programme has a total budget of R249,9 billion and its 2021/22 financial year allocation amounts to R81,2 billion. The programme’s budget constitutes 83.06% of the Department’s total voted funds for the 2021/22 financial year. The 2021/22 allocation, when adjusted for inflation, decreased by R372,1 million. Though the budget has increased by R2,9 billion from the 2020/21 allocation (R78,3 billion), the budget, when factoring in inflation has decreased in real terms by -0.48%.  The budget is projected to grow slowly at an average growth rate of 2.6% between 2020/21 and 2023/24.

Cabinet has approved reductions to the Department’s baseline amounting to R24,6 billion over the MTEF period. The Cabinet approved budget reductions impacting the programme are R6,8 billion on the allocation to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme for loans and bursaries and R5 billion on university subsidies. It is of great concern that instead of supporting the expansion of access to education and training, the Cabinet approved reductions in the baseline of the Department. The reductions in university subsidies will likely lead to a decrease in the number of first-year enrolments at universities. It would also have a longer-term impact on the number of new graduates emerging from the system. Consequently, this will impact the critical and scarce skills required by the economy and the potential to increase youth unemployment. 

On 24 February 2021, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Mboweni announced during the budget speech that Government was committed to ensuring that deserving students were supported through higher education. The Minister further noted that the National Treasury was working with the Department of Higher Education and Training to work on a policy and funding options that would be detailed in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

The bulk of the programme’s total budget, R45,5 billion or 56.09% is apportioned to sub-programme 6: University Subsidies. The sub-programme is responsible for transfers payments to universities annually. The budget is towards expanding access to universities by ensuring that there is adequate infrastructure for teaching and learning as well as student accommodation. An amount of R42,1 billion is allocated for higher education institutions, of which R40,6 billion is subsidies to 24 universities. Allocation for spending towards the operations of the two universities, Sol Plaatje and the University of Mpumalanga amounts to R357,8 million and R446,3 million, respectively.

For the 2021/22 financial year, an amount of R3,8 billion is allocated for capital expenditure, of which R2,3 billion is for infrastructure efficiency grants

(IEG) for the 24 universities and R1,0 billion is allocated to the University of Mpumalanga and Sol Plaatje University.

The second highest allocation amounting to R35,5 billion is apportioned to sub-programme 3: University Governance and Management Support, which is responsible for monitoring and supporting institutional governance management, and providing sector liaison services. The sub-programme is also responsible for transfer to Departmental agencies and accounts and these are,the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for student loans and bursaries and operations, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the non-profit institutions: National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS). Allocation to the NSFAS, accounts for 99.63% (R35,4 billion) of the sub-programme’s total budget. The allocation to the NSFAS has increased slightly by R362 million from an allocation of R34,7 billion in 2020/21. The slow growth is ascribed to the Cabinet approved budget reductions.

Allocation for spending on current payments for the 2021/22 financial year amounts to R95,5 million, of which R86,7 million is for compensation of employees and R8,8 million is for goods and services.

 

4.2.3.2. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 performance targets

The programme supports the Department in its intentions towards the expanded access to PSET opportunities; improved success and efficiency of the PSET system; improved quality of PSET provisioning; and a responsive PSET system. The programme contributes to the Department’s direct deliverables and the system deliverables as per the MTSF. For 2021/22, the programme has 27 output indicators and 27 targets.

The Departments notes that expansion of the public university system requires a careful and systematic enrolment planning process that aligned with available resources, capacity and funding. The programme with its public universities, will develop and ensure the implementation of enrolment plans for the period 2020 to 2025.This process will ensure equitable participation that is supported by increased numbers of quality staff, affordable fees, inclusive and sustainable financial aid and improved infrastructure.

 

In supporting the efforts to expand access to PSET opportunities, the programme will amongst others, develop a report on the achievement of Ministerial enrolment planning targets and get it approved by the DG; to submit a fee regulation framework to the Minister by 31 December 2021; conduct a feasibility study to establish the nature and scope as well as the location of the new institution in Ekurhuleni Metro and get it submitted to the Minister for approval by 31 March 2021. The programme will also get norms and standards for PSET students housing approved by the DG and have the updated guidelines for the implementation of the DHET bursary scheme for poor and working-class students at public universities submitted to the Minister by 31 December 2021 and have 13 public universities and 25 TVET colleges utilising the Central Application Services (CAS) by 31 March 2022.

 

In contributing toimproved success and efficiency within the public university system, the programme will get reports on the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) and an undergraduate cohort study report tracking student throughput approved by the DG by 31 March 2022.

 

In supporting the Department’s intention to improve the quality of provisioning in the higher education sector, the programme will focus on implementing the Staffing South Africa’s Universities Framework (SSAUF) by having 40 scholarship or internship positions allocated to universities through the Nurturing Emerging Scholars Programme. The programme will also support the following interventions: 85 nGAP lecturer posts supported at universities, 40 doctoral scholarships allocated to universities through the University Staff Doctoral Programme (USDP) for award to permanent instructional or research staff members, make 50 awards to permanent instructional or research staff participate in the Future Professors Programme. For the 2021/22 financial year, the programme will have a draft revised reporting regulations for public universities submitted to the Minister for approval for public consultation by 31 March 2021. Three Centres for African Language Teaching will be supported.

4.2.4. Programme 4: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

The programme aims to plan, develop, implement, monitor, maintain and evaluate national policy, programme assessment practices and systems for TVET colleges. It also provides financial and other support to TVET colleges and regional offices.

The programme has six budget sub-programmes, namely: Programme Management; Technical and Vocational Education and Training System Planning and Institutional Support; Programmes and Qualifications; National Examinations and Assessment; Technical and Vocational Education and Training Financial Planning and Regional Offices.

4.2.4.1. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 MTEF budget allocation

The programme’s budget over the MTEF period amounts to R39,7 billion.For the 2021/22 financial year,the total budget of the programme amounts to R13,0 billion. Though the programme’s budget for 2020/21 increased by R444,0 million from the previous financial year allocation, it has actually decreased by -0.66% when considering inflation. The programme’s budget accounts for 13.39% of the Department’s total voted funds.Notwithstanding the projected average growth rate of 1.5% between 2020/21 and 2023/24, the budget is projected to increase marginally by R281,7 million to R13,3 billion and to R13,2 billion in the last financial year of the METF (2023/24). 

The bulk of the programme’s total budget, R12,2 billion, representing 93.21% is apportioned to sub-programme 2: Technical and Vocational Education and Training System Planning and Institutional Support This sub-programme provides support to management and councils, monitors and evaluate the performance of the TVET system against set indicators, develops regulatory frameworks for the system, manages and monitors the procurement and distribution of learning and teaching support materials, provides leadership for TVET colleges to enter into partnerships for the use of infrastructure and funding resources, and maps out the institutional landscape for the rollout of the TVET college system. The sub-programme budget increase, when inflation-adjusted, by 0.23% from the previous financial year allocation.

The second highest allocationamounting to R593,2 million, represents 4.53% of the programme’s total budget. The sub-programme administers and manages the conduct of national assessments in TVET and CET colleges. The sub-programme budget increased by R12,0 million. However, the budget, when inflation-adjusted, has decreased by -2.05%. An amount of R252,6 million, representing 1.93% of the programme’s total budget is allocated to sub-programme 6: Regional Offices, which manages, supports, coordinates and monitors the implementation of the DHET programme in the regional offices.  Notably, the sub-programme budget has decreased by R21,6 million from the previous financial year allocation.

The programme’s funding will go towards supporting expanded access to education and skills programmes that address the labour market’s needs for immediate skills that include practical components, improving success and efficiency, improving quality and responsiveness of the TVET sector.

An allocation amounting to R7,8 billion is apportioned for current payments, of which R7,5 billion is for compensation of employees and R382,0 million for goods and services. Transfers and subsidies allocations for 2021/22 amounts to R5,1 billion and it is projected to decrease in the outer two years of the MTEF period to R5,0 billion in 2022/23 and R4,8 billion in 2023/24. In terms of transfers and subsidies, an amount of R4,0 billion is allocated for transfers to TVET colleges and R404,1 million for the operationalisation of the new TVET college campuses. An amount of R17,1 million is allocated for transfer allocation to Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA). The allocation for capital expenditure for the 2021/22 financial year amounts to R714,5 million.this is towards improving the maintenance of infrastructure in TVET colleges through the infrastructure efficiency grant, with a particular focus on improving the teaching and learning environment.

 

The allocation for TVET college infrastructure efficiency grant is projected to decrease in the outer two-years of the MTEF period to R710,5 million and R541,9 million in 2022/23 and 2023/24. This is due to the Cabinet approved reductions to the Department’s baseline amounting to R24,6 billion over the MTEF period, which includes R947,1 million on TVET college infrastructure grants. The National Treasury notes that although the reduction to TVET college infrastructure grants could lead to delays in beginning new projects, it will ensure that funding is more closely aligned with the sector’s capacity to spend.

 

4.2.4.2. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 performance targets

The programme supports the Department in its intentions to expand access to PSET opportunities; improved success and efficiency of the PSET system; improved quality of PSET provisioning; and a responsive PSET system.

The key contribution of the programme is to provide mid-level skills to support the priority sectors targeted by government. It is expected that the critical issue of pervasive youth unemployment and acute shortage of scarce and critical skills provision will be addressed and mitigated. The goal is ultimately to produce TVET graduates who are ready for the world of work. Achieving this requires an enabling environment for quality teaching, a competent teaching workforce, entrenching an enterprising culture among students, fostering skills for the digital economy, and strengthening the management and governance structures in TVET colleges, while ensuring accountability through an improvement in monitoring and oversight of these institutions by the Department.

A key output of the programme is aimed at improving access and the success of enrolled students to contribute to the employment of youth, and consequently, contribute towards combatting unemployment, poverty and social inequality. The increase in student enrolments is, however, constrained by fiscal funding to colleges, which sees a levelling off of student enrolments for the MTSF period. The focus on scaling up occupational qualifications in TVET colleges also requires colleges to seek alternate sources of funding through concrete and sustainable partnerships with various stakeholders.

In terms of improving student access, success and efficiency in the sector, the programme, will amongst others, enrol students in the Pre-Vocational Learning Programme (PLP), improve lecturer competencies to deliver vocational education and review the college programmes and qualifications to make them more responsive and aligned to government priorities.In the 2021/22 financial year, the TVET colleges will enrol 3 500 students in the PLP to improve success. In improving lecturer competencies, the sector will have 65% of TVET lecturers with professional qualifications and 12% of TVET college-lecturing staff appropriately placed in industry or in exchange programmes.

The introduction of entrepreneurial and digital skillsaimed at contributing to the responsiveness of TVET colleges, as well as strengthening exit support to graduates for self-employment in the context of a poor labour-absorptive capacity in the economy.In the 2021/22 financial year, the Department will support five TVET colleges to establish hubs to promote entrepreneurship.

There will also be a dedicated focus on service delivery for students with disabilities in 2021/22, and this will be addressed through the establishment of Disability Support Units in two TVET colleges.

4.2.5. Programme 5: Skills Development

The programme aims to promote and monitor the National Skills Development Strategy. Develop skills development policies and regulatory frameworks for an effective skills development system. This programme has five sub-programmes, namely, Programme Management; Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) Coordination; National Skills Authority Secretariat; Quality Development and Promotion, and National Artisan Development.

 

 

4.2.5.1. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22MTEF budget allocation

Over the MTEF period, the programme has a total budget of R934,8 million. For the 2021/22 financial year, the total budget amounts to R307,9 million, which represents 0.31% of the Department’s total voted funds. The programme’s 2021/22 budget increases by R25,3 million from R282.6 million in the previous financial year. This represents, when considering inflation, an increase of 4.56% when factoring in the inflation rate. The budget is projected to grow at an average growth rate of 3.6% to R312,9 million and R314,2 million in 2022/23 and 2023/24, respectively.

The bulk of the programme’s budget is apportioned to sub-programme 2: Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) Coordination at 51.15% (R157,5 million).The sub-programme supports, monitors, reports on the implementation of the national skills development strategy at the sectoral level by establishing and managing the performance of service-level agreements with SETAs, and conducting trade test at the Institute for National Development of Learnerships, Employment Skills and Labour Assessments (INDLELA).The second highest allocation of R100,7 million is allocation to sub-programme 5: National Artisan Development. This sub-programme manages and monitors the development of artisans, and accounts for 32.71% of the programme’s total budget.

An amount of R158,3 million is apportioned for current payments, of which R141,3 million is allocated for compensation of employees and R17,0 million for goods and services. The allocation for transfers and subsidies amounts to R147,7 million, of which R26,6 million a grant for the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) and R120,1 million is for transfer to the Public Services SETA. It is critical to note that the MTEF allocation for the QCTO is not growing in real terms when factoring in inflation.  Spending on payments for capital assets amounts to R1,9 million.

4.2.5.2. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 performance targets

The programme contributes towards the achievement of three of the five DHET MTSF Outcomes: Expanded access to PSET opportunities; improved success and efficiency of the PSET system; and a responsive PSET system.For the 2021/22 financial year, the programme has 10 output indicators and 10 targets. Of the 10 targets, 4 are direct deliverables and six MTSF system targets.

 

In expanding access to PSET opportunities, the programme will ensure that the 21 sector kills plans (SSPs) aligned to the updated SSP Framework are approved by the Minister. This will ensure that the SSPs will assist the country, among other things, to identify the top ten occupations in high demand in each sector of the economy, as well as the interventions that are required. For e 2021/22, the programme will ensure that SETAs enrol 103 750 learners or students in work-based learning programmes; 147 000 learners are registered in skills development programmes, and 21 500 learners enrol in artisan programmes.  In contributing towards the achievement of Outcome 2: improved success and efficiency of the PSET system, the programme will focus on increased completion of learners in artisanal (19 500), learnership programmes (30 650) and internships (4 875).

 

In contributing to the responsiveness of the PSET system, the programme will get the sectoral occupations in high demand approved by the DG by 31 March 2022, and develop four SETA monitoring reports and conducting trade tests.

 

4.2.6. Programme 6: Community Education Training (CET)

The purpose of this programme is to plan, develop, implement, monitor, maintain and evaluate national policy, programme assessment practices and systems for community education and training. It also provides financial and other support to the CET colleges. The programme has four sub-programmes, namely: Programme Management; Community Education and Training Systems Planning, Institutional Development and Support; Community Education and Training College Financial Planning and Management; and Education and Training and Development Assessment.

 

4.2.6.1. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22MTEF budget allocation

The Community Education and Training programme budget over the MTEF periodamounts to R7,4 billion. For the 2021/22 financial year, the total budget amounts to R2,4billion, which constitutes 2.48% of the Department’s total voted funds. The budget for 2021/22 increases, when inflation-adjusted, by 3.43% from the adjusted appropriation of R2,2billion in 2021/22. The budget is projected to grow by an average growth rate of 4.6% between 2022/21 and 2023/24.

The bulk of the budget of the programme, at 90.08% (R2,1 billion) is apportioned to sub-programme 2: Community Education and Training Colleges Systems Planning, Institutional Development and Support. This sub-programme provides support to management and councils; monitors and evaluates the performance of the CET system; develops regulatory frameworks for the system; manages and monitors the procurement and distribution of learning and teaching support materials; provides leadership for community education and training colleges to enter into partnerships for the use of infrastructure for college site-hosting centres, and the funding of these partnerships, maps and institutional landscape for the rollout of the CET system; and is responsible for the planning and development of CET infrastructure.The sub-programme’s budget is projected to grow in the outer two years of the MTEF to R2,2 billion and R2,3 billion in 2022/23 and 2023/24, respectively.

 

The second-largest allocation amounting to R219,3 million or 9.05% is apportioned for sub-programme 3: Community Education and Training Financial Planning and Management. The programme sets up financial management systems; develops the financial management capacity of CET colleges; manages and determines the fair distribution of funding to CET colleges in accordance with funding norms and standards; monitors compliance with supply chain management policy; and ensures the timely submission of audited performance information, annual financial statements, and quarterly and annual reports.

 

For 2021/22, the current payments budget amounts to R2,213 billion, of which R2,052 billion is for compensation of employees and R8,3 million for goods and services. Allocation for compensation of employees accounts for 91,06% of the programme’s total budget. The allocation for spending on transfers and subsidies amounts to R207,1 million, of which R204,6 million is for transfers to CET colleges and R3,1 million is a transfer to ETDP SETA.

 

4.2.6.2. Overview and assessment of the 2021/22 performance targets

The programme contributes towards the achievement of four of the five DHET MTSF Outcomes: Expanded access to PSET opportunities; improved success and efficiency of the PSET system; improved quality of the PSET provisioning and a responsive PSET system. For the 2021/22 financial year, the programme has 15 output indicators and 15 targets. The programme has both direct and system deliverables.

 

Working towards improving access to PSET opportunities, the programme will appoint a service provider for the development of a sustainable funding model for CET colleges by the end of September 2021. Since its establishment, the CET sector has not achieved its headcount enrolment targets, and this ascribed to, amongst others, the lack or inadequate advocacy strategy. In remedying the current situation, the programme will develop the advocacy strategy intended to support colleges to meet their enrolments targets by attracting more youth into CET opportunities. The NDP committed government to increase youth and adult participation in the CET sector to 1 million by 2030 in appreciation of the challenge of the growing number of youth who are not in education, employment and training (NEET).

 

To improve success and efficiency as well as the quality of provisioning of the CET sector, the programme will develop bi-annual reports on teaching and learning improvement plans as well as developing Open Learning and Teaching Support Material (LTMS) in Adult Education and Training sub-level 3 in the fundamentals and get approved by the DG.

 

In contributing to the Department’s intention to improve the quality of the PSET,  the focus during the 2021/21 financial year will be dedicated to finalising the governance standards and regulations for CET college councils; to have 900 CET college lecturers trained, to develop a report on capacity-building workshops conducted to capacitate student leadership, centre managers, management and councils; and to have 36 CET Regional Staff trained on National Policy on student and community services. The programme will further accredit 54 pilot community learning centres. The accreditation of community learning centres will open opportunities for training to individuals who could not meet the requirements for entry into TVET colleges and other institutions of further learning.

 

The programme will also work towards contributing to a responsive PSET system. During the financial year, the programme will get the register of CET programmes approved by the DG. The programme will have entrepreneurship and digital skills programmes in the CET colleges approved. The skills programmes seek to address issues of unemployment, poverty and inequality within communities while providing skills for establishing sustainable entrepreneurship.

 

 

 

5. ENTITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

 

The Committee considered and assessed the 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plans, 2021/22 Annual Performance Plans and the MTEF Budget allocations of the CHE, QCTO, NSFAS and SAQA. These entities are funded through a Parliamentary grant (voted funds) and also generates other income through services they provide, fundraising. The NSFAS generates other revenue from loan recoveries from previous beneficiaries and management fees from managing funds from other funders.  

 

5.1. Council on Higher Education (CHE)

The mandate of the CHE is premised on the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No. 101 as amended) and the National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008 as amended). In terms of its mandate as per the two primary legislation, the CHE is responsible for the following:

  • Advising the Minister of Higher Education and Training on all higher education matters upon request and at its own initiative;
  • Promoting quality and quality assurance in higher education through its permanent sub-committee, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), including auditing the quality assurance mechanisms and accrediting programmes offered by higher education institutions;
  • Monitoring the state of higher education and publish information regarding developments in higher education regularly, including arranging and co-ordinating conferences on higher education issues;
  • Developing and managing the qualification sub-framework for higher education, namely, the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF), including the development of qualifications that are necessary for the higher education sector; and
  • Advising the Minister of Higher Education and Training on matters relating to the HEQSF.

 

The mandate is further premised on key policies; namely the National Development Plan: Vision 2030, the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, the National Plan for Higher Education, and the Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2019 – 2024: Priority 3: Education, Skills and Health, amongst others.

The MTSF 2019 – 2024 does not specify any direct contribution from the CHE to the five-year outcome indicators and targets. However, the CHE, as the quality council for the higher education sector has a critical role to play in supporting the Department and the institutions to ensure achievements of the MTSF targets. The MTSF has four outcomes that are relevant for the Post-School Education and Training sector and they are: Expanded access to PSET opportunities; improved success and efficiency in the PSET system; improved quality of PSET provisioning, and a responsive PSET system. One of the Output indicators in the MTSF is to accredit 10 universities to offer TVET college lecturer qualifications. The role of the CHE is more pronounced in this area as it is responsible for the accreditation of qualifications in the higher education sector. The CHE will also support the work of the Department in the feasibility study to establish the nature and scope, as well as the location of the new institution in the Ekurhuleni Metro.

 

The CHE has not revised its Strategic Plan 2020 - 2025

Focus over the MTSF period and Strategic Outcomes

The work of the CHE over the MTSF period will be informed by its Strategic Outcomes; namely,

  • Strategic Outcome 1: CHE as an effective custodian of the HEQSF
  • Strategic Outcome 2: Comprehensive and coherent quality assurance system for the higher education sector
  • Strategic Outcome 3: A reputable centre of intellectual discourse, knowledge generation and advancement
  • Strategic Outcome 4: Governance, compliance and risk management
  • Strategic Outcome 5: Sustainable, responsive and dynamic organisation

 

In realising the Strategic Outcomes, the activities over the five-years will be implemented under four budget programmes; namely, Management of the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework, Quality Assurance, Research, Monitoring and Advice and Corporate.

 

For 2021/22, the CHE’s Annual Performance Plan has a total of 50 targets spread across the four programmes.

Selected programme key deliverables for the 2021/22 financial year.

  • Programme 1: Management of the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework.

The purpose of the programme is to manage the development and implementation of HEQSF policies, qualification standards and data to meet the goals of the NQF, NPPSET and the National Development Plan (NDP).The programme has four sub-programmes; namely, Qualification Standards Development, Data management, Policy Development and Review, Partnerships and Collaboration and Quality Promotion and Capacity Development.

 

The programme’s key deliverables for 2021/22 include:

  • Development of two qualification standards are developed;
  • Initiating development or review of three qualification standards
  • 80% of higher education institutions have all required sets of data records in the database;
  • Two data uploads onto the National Learner Records Database;
  • Providing support to three higher education institutions with respect to the development and implementation of relevant institutional policies;
  • Submission of five project reports or other submissions from the joint or collaborative projects with the SAQA, other Quality Councils, the Department and professional bodies;
  • Coordination of 10 capacity development interventions or initiatives.

 

  • Programme 2: Quality Assurance

The programme aims to contribute towards the fulfilment of the mandate of the CHE as the national authority for quality assurance in higher education. The programme develops and implements processes to inform, assure, promote and monitor quality in higher education institutions. The programme has four sub-programmes, namely Accreditation, Institutional Audits, National Reviews and Development of Integrated Quality Assurance Framework. The programme implements Strategic Outcome 2: Comprehensive and coherent quality assurance system for the higher education sector.

 

The programme’s key deliverables for 2021/22 include:

  • Process and present 85% of programme accreditation applications received that go through the accreditation to the HEQC within 12 months from date of appointment of evaluators;
  • Undertake 95% of site visits whose reports are presented to the HEQC within 12 months from the date of receipt of reports from the site visit panels;
  • Conduct 10 workshops related to the new frameworks for institutional audits;
  • Complete 100% of National Reviews that have their reports finalised and approved.
  • Approve Quality Assurance Framework plan.

 

  • Programme 3: Research, Monitoring and Advice (RMA)

The programme aims to revitalise and strengthen the research, monitoring, evaluation and advice capabilities of the CHE to advance the realisation of Outcome 3 in the Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025, namely, to make the CHE a reputable centre of intellectual discourse, knowledge generation and advancement on higher education. The programme has three sub-programmes (Research, Monitoring and Advice) that seek to contribute to the achievement of this outcome.

 

The programme’s key deliverables for 2021/22 include to:

  • Produce three research reports;
  • Publish two journals/journal articles or books/book chapters
  • Produce four policy briefs or Briefly Speaking articles;
  • Produce one VitalStats;
  • Respond to 100% of requests with submission of advice, and produce and submit two pieces of proactive advice.

 

  • Programme 4: Corporate.

The programme aims to provide leadership, oversight, systems, activities and structures that enable the organisation to operate effectively and efficiently in fulfilment of its mandates and pursuit of its outcomes. The programme focuses on setting the policy and tone for good governance, statutory compliance, and transfer of business best practices across the organisation; and ensuring the efficient and effective provision of corporate services – administrative, financial, technical and professional - to support the discharge of the core functions of the CHE. Furthermore, the programme is the vehicle by which the organisation seeks to achieve outcomes 4 and 5 in the Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025. These outcomes are, Governance, compliance and risk management, and sustainable, responsive and dynamic organisation.

 

The programme has four sub-programmes; namely, Governance, Corporate Services, Finance and Supply Chain Management, and Communications and Stakeholder Relations.

 

The programme’s key deliverables include to:

  • Develop or review 7 ICT policies, frameworks and procedure; 
  • Develop or review 7 Human Resources policies, frameworks and procedure;
  • Develop or review 8 financial management and supply chain management policies, frameworks and procedure;
  • 85% of approved posts on the organisational structure that have incumbents;
  • Submit 4 approved expenditure reports to the DHET; and
  • A 20% year-to-year increase in the users of the CHE website.

 

Overview and assessment of the CHE 2021/22 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget

The CHE’s budget amounts to R251,8 million over the MTEF period. For the 2021/22 financial year, CHE has a total revenue amounting to R77,1 million. The budget is made up of R7,1 million or 9.2% of entity revenue (administration fees, interest and recovered funds) and R70,0 million or 90.8% from DHET transfers. The overall budget is projected to grow in the outer two years of the MTEF to R82,8 million for 2022/23 and to R91,8 million for 2023/24. However, when considering inflation, the budget is estimated to only grow marginally to R75,8 million for 2022/23 and to R80,4 million for 2023/24.

 

Notably, the DHET Grant allocation to the CHE has increased significantly by 27.5% from the allocation of R52,7 million in 2020/21. The increase was ascribed to the reprioritisation of R43,0 million from the University Education allocation to assist the expanded mandate of the CHE.

 

Programme 2: Quality Assurance receives the bulk of the total budget, 41.2% or R31,7 million, with ten targets. This is followed by Programme 4 that receives 36.4% or R28,1 million, Programme 3 Research, Monitoring and Advice receives R1,4 million or 16.1%. Programme 1: Management of the HEQSF receives the smallest allocation, i.e. R4,7 million or 6.2%. The allocation to compensation of employees amounts to R41,7 million and goods and services receive R34,2 million.

 

 

 

5.2. Quality Council for Trades and Occupations

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations’ mandate is based on two primary legislations; namely, the National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008 as amended) and the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No 97 of 1998 as amended). The mandate is further premised on key policies; namely the National Development Plan: Vision 2030, the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, the National Skills Development Plan, the Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2019 – 2024: Priority 3: Education, Skills and Health.

The overall mandate of the QCTO is to develop and manage the OQSF of the NQF. This includes the development and quality assurance of occupational qualifications (including trades) and part qualifications registered on the OQSF, with a specific focus on occupational qualifications that address the national demand.

Over the MTSF 2019 – 2024 period, the QCTO will in collaboration with other stakeholder within the PSET work towards the achievement of the interventions as directed by the MTSF. The QCTO will support the intention of the Department in contributing towards the achievement of two Outcomes; namely, Expanded access to PSET opportunities and a responsive PSET system.

In expanding access to PSET opportunities, the following MTSF 2019 -2014 interventions are relevant to the work of the QCTO:

  • The training of young artisans through the centres of specialisation at TVET colleges.
  • The development of new occupational and trade qualifications to increase access to trades and occupational programmes and therefore, contributing towards the achievement of the target of 30 000 artisans by 2030.

In supporting a responsive PSET system, the QCTO will support the following interventions.

  • Introduction of compulsory digital skills training, specific to programme offerings at TVET colleges and the piloting of the CET college skills programmes around community needs.
  • Implementation of hubs to promote student-focused entrepreneurship development activities and the establishment.
  • Percentage of NEET students taking part in CET occupational skills programmes becoming economically active.

Focus over the MTSF period and Strategic Outcomes

Over the MTSF period, the work of the QCTO will be informed by the three Strategic Outcomes; namely,

  • Strategic Outcome 1: A single, national, quality-assured Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework that promotes synergy, simplification and effectiveness.

TheOutcome aims to contribute to the simplified NQF promoting articulation, access and encouraging lifelong learning. It further aims to contribute to quality education and skills training provisioning and assessment, as well as the relevant qualifications responsive to industry and the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

 

  • Strategic Outcome 2: Public TVET and CET Colleges offer occupational qualifications and skills programmes that respond to the skills needs of our country

This Outcome aims to contribute to making TVET colleges “institutions of choice”; close mid-level skills gap; redefine CET colleges through skills programme and provide for a skilled and capable workforce. Over the five-years, performance will be measured against the following Outcome Indicators as follows:

 

  • Strategic Outcome 3: QCTO is a responsive learning organisation

This Outcome aims at the QCTO being responsive to the changing environment ensuring capacity to respond.

In implementing the Strategic Outcomes, the QCTO has four budget programmes; namely, Administration; Occupational Qualifications Management, Assessment and Certification; Occupational Qualifications Quality Assurance and Research Analysis.

For 2021/22, the QCTO’s Annual Performance Plan has a total of 31 targets spread across the four programmes.

Selected programme key deliverables for the 2021/22 financial year.

 

 

 

 

  • Programme 1: Administration

The programme aims to enable the QCTO performance through strategic leadership and reliable delivery of management support services that will ensure a responsive and learning organisation. The programme’s key deliverables for 2021/22 include:

  • Implementing 100% of Master System Plan deliverables.
  • Implementing 40% of the Marketing and Communications Strategy (Year 1).
  • Approving the Change Management Strategy.

 

  • Programme 2: Occupational Qualifications Management, Assessment and Certification

The programme aims to ensure that occupational qualifications, part-qualifications and skills programs on the OQSF are available; issuing certificates to qualifying learners; verify the authenticity of issued certificates; and maintain stakeholder relationships. During 2021/22 the programme focuses its efforts on achieving the following deliverables:

  • Recommending 70 prioritised occupational qualifications (full/part) to SAQA for registration on the OQSF.
  • Recommending 100 Historically Registered Qualifications to SAQA for deactivation on the OQSF.
  • Approving 100 skills programmes by QCTO Council.
  • Quality assures 90% of assessments for QCTO developed skills programmes against the QCTO standard within 21 working days.
  • Verifying the authenticity of 95% of certificates requests received and verified within the turnaround time (5 working days).

 

  • Programme 3: Occupational Qualifications Quality Assurance

The programme aims to establish and maintain quality standards for Accreditation and Assessment within the OQSF. The deliverables for 2021/22 include:

  • Processing 90% of Skills Development Providers (SDPs) accreditation applications for Occupational qualifications and, part qualifications within the turnaround time (90 working days.
  • Processing 80% of SDPs accreditation applications for historically registered Qualifications (Trades, Non-Trades, National Accredited Technical Education Diploma (NATED) Report 190/191, Skills Programmes) within the turnaround time (90 working days)
  • Quality assuring 25% of accredited SDPs with implemented historically registered qualifications (Excluding NATED Report 190/191 Programmes) against QCTO compliance standards
  • Quality assuring 100 NATED Report 190/191 (e.g. N4 – N6) Instructional Offering Exams sessions conducted at accredited SDPs, quality assured against QCTO standards

 

  • Programme 4: Research Analysis

The programme aims to establish and maintain QCTO Standards for quality assurance through research, monitoring, evaluation and analysis. For the 2021/22 financial year, the QCTO will ensure will produce 3 research reports approved by the CEO and will publish the Research Bulletin online.

Overview and assessment of the QCTO’s 2021/22 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget

The QCTO’s budget amounts to R308,6 million over the 2021/22 MTEF period. For the 2021/22 financial year, the total budget amounts to R95,3 million (R122,7 million in 2020/21). The budget is comprised of R27,6 million from DHET Grant and R67,7 million or 71% from SETA Grant. Notably, the overall budget decreased 22.3% from the 2020/21 budget. Remarkably, the SETA grant allocation decreased significantly by 30.3%. The reduction in SETA Grant to the QCTO is ascribed impact of the four-months skills levy payment holiday on the revenue of the SETAs, which resulted in the decreased SETAs allocation to the Entity. The QCTO receives 80% of its revenue from the SETA Grant of the 0.5% allocation, as per the SETA Grant Regulations.

The SETA Grant allocation is projected to experience healthy growth in the outer years of the MTEF period to R74,5 million and R81,9 million in 2022/23 and 2023/24, respectively. The bulk of the allocation of the QCTO budget at 73.7% or R70,3 million is apportioned to compensation of employees and 25% or R24,3 million is allocated for good and services.

Programme 1: Administration receives the bulk of the Entity’s budget at 39.6% or R37,7 million, followed by programmes 3: Occupational Qualifications Quality Assurance and Occupational Qualifications Management, Assessments and Certification at 31.2% (R29,7 million) and 27.2% (R25,9 million), respectively.

Key issues affecting the QCTO

  • The 0.5% SETA Grant allocation to the QCTO is inadequate to enable the Entity to implement its new organisational structure and to fully take over the quality assurance function delegated to the Quality Assurance Partners.
  • The decision was taken to freeze all vacant posts, which meant that the Research and Analysis Unit could not be staffed, and remains with only the Director as the single employee in the unit. Given the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the chronic staff shortage in the Research Unit, targets for Research outputs have been reduced in the medium-term.
  • The low uptake of occupational qualifications by TVET colleges and other providers. The current uptake of e occupational qualifications is 11% (32 out of 300).
  • The successive resignation of members of Council, including the Chairperson and its impacts on governance and stability of the Entity.

5.3. National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

The mandate of the NSFAS is informed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, section 29(1) (b) of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, the National Student Financial Act, 1999 (Act No. 56of 1999 as amended), the Higher Education Act, 1997 (Act No. 101 of 1997 as amended), and the Continuing Education and Training Act, 2006 (Act No. 16 of 2006). In addition to the core legislative mandate, the work of the Entity is informed by key government policies; namely the NDP, the White-Paper for PSET, the MTSF 2019 – 2024.

The NSFAS’s main responsibility is to administer loans and bursaries and allocating these to eligible students, developing criteria and conditions for the granting of loans and bursaries to eligible students in consultation with the Minister of Higher Education (“the Minister”), raising funds, recovering loans, maintaining and analysing a database, undertaking research aimed at better utilisation of financial resources and for advising the Minister on matters relating to student financial aid.

The NDP commits the NSFAS to provide all students who qualify for the NSFAS with access to full funding through loans and bursaries to cover the costs of tuition, books, accommodation and other living expenses. In terms of loan recoveries, the NDP enjoins the NSFAS to recover through an arrangement with the South African Revenue Service. Furthermore, MSTF has identified Seven Apex Priorities, including Priority 3: Education, Skills and Health. There are four outcomes; namely, expanded access to PSET opportunities, improved success and efficiency of the PSET system, improved quality of the PSET provisioning and a responsive PSET system. The NSFAS directly contributes to Outcome 1: Expanded access to PSET opportunities. The MTSF commits the NSFAS to fund 420 000 and 400 000 number of University students and the number of TVET college students by 2024, respectively.

Overview of the NSFAS Revised 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan

The new NSFAS Board reviewed the Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025 and the 2021/22 APP. The Board noted that this was to address the findings of the Auditor-General (AG). In 2020, the AG awarded a disclaimer opinion on the annual performance report of the Entity for 2019/20. Additionally, the AG also made a finding against the strategic planning and performance management of NSFAS.

The AG found that procedures for facilitation of effective performance monitoring, evaluation and corrective action through quarterly reports were not established, as required by Treasury Regulation 30.2.1.  The Board noted that some of the reasons for the revision of the Strategic Plan were, amongst others to re-look into the NSFAS strategic outcomes, strategic objectives, Key performance indicators and targets; to ensure that Key Performance Indicators were developed in a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) principle and in line with the NSFAS business model, to conform to the standards of the requirements of the revised framework on Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans; to improve the quality of SP and APPs and to improve on evidence-based performance and to contribute to the achievement of long-term National Strategic Goals and Outcomes.

Focus over the MTSF period and Strategic Outcomes

The Entity has developed new seven Strategic Outcomes as follows:

  • Outcome 1: Alternative pool of funding available for eligible students
  • Outcome 2: A sustainable and improved system of recoveries
  • Outcome 3. Fund the right students, correct amount at the right time
  • Outcome 4: Engaged and informed stakeholders.
  • Outcome 5: Research and knowledge management database for improved decision making and stakeholder needs
  • Outcome 6: Clean governance embedded in all behaviour practices
  • Outcome 7: Optimal organisation that deploys resources efficiently

 

In addressing the shortcomings identified by AG in relation to performance reporting as per the previous Strategic Plan and the APP, the Entity also developed new outcome indicators.

The NSFAS new Strategic Plan 2020 - 2024 retained the two budget programmes; namely, Administration and Student-Centred Model. For 2021/22, the NSFAS’s Annual Performance Plan has a total of 18 targets spread across the two programmes.

Selected programmes key deliverables for the 2021/22 financial year.

Programme 1: Administration

The programme aims to implement effective and efficient processes and operations to ensure stakeholder objectives are achieved. The programme will conduct the overall management, administration and governance of the entity and provide efficient and effective support services to sustain the student-centred operating model. The programme is responsible for implementing two Outcomes, namely Clean governance embedded in all behaviour practices and optimal organisation that deploys resources efficiently.

The focus of the programme in 2021/22 will be to:

  • Obtain unqualified audit;
  • Achieve Level 3 with respect to Cyber Security;
  • Obtain ISO 9001-2015 Certificate;
  • Fill 90% of approved funded position per annum; and
  • Conduct 100% of training interventions rolled out according to the Human Resources Training Plan

Programme 2: Student-Centred Model

The purpose of this programme is to increase access to funding for eligible students by raising funds, maximizing loan recoveries and creating a Student-Centred loans and bursaries model through improved communication support for students and the central application process. The programme further aims to improve the provision of financial aid to an increasing number of eligible students and to improve the efficiency of the application and funding of students.  The programme implements five Outcomes.

The focus of the programme in 2021/22 will be to:

  • Raise R43,9 million from new funders;
  • Recover R425,5 million from NSFAS debtors;
  • Communicate funding decision to applicants of 90% of all valid applications received in each academic cycle, within 30 days of the closing date;
  • Achieve 90% of first-time entry students where bursary accounts are created within 10 days of receipt of registration data from institutions
  •  Fund 90% university students for which the instalments of tuition and allowances to institutions are paid on the 25th day of every second month;
  • Develop a framework for the measurement of customer and stakeholder satisfaction; and
  • Produce 4 research reports.

 

Overview and assessment of the NSFAS 2021/22 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget

The NSFAS budget amounts to R118,0 billion over the MTEF period. For the 2021/22 financial year, the budget amounts to R38,6 billion. The budget is comprised of the Entity’s revenue of R1,4 billion or 3.7%, R35,4 billion or 91.8% from DHET Grant and R1,7 billion or 4.6% from other grant funders. Notably, the overall budget decreased by R2,9 billion or 7.0% from the 2020/21 allocation of R41,5 billion. Similarly, the DHET Grant allocation to the NSFAS decreased by R2,7 billion or 7.2% from R38,1 billion in 2020/21. The budget reduction in the DHET Grant was due to the Cabinet reduction to the Department’s baseline funding, which for the NSFAS meant a reduction of R6,8 billion over the MTEF period. The DHET grant allocation to the NSFAS is projected to experience slow growth in the outer two years of the MTEF period.

The bulk of the budget of the NSFAS, 95.8% or R37,0 billion is apportioned to programme 2: Student-Centred Model, which is the core mandate of the NSFAS and has 11 targets for the 2021/22 financial year. The second highest budget allocation amounting to R274,3 million or 0.7% is allocated to programme 2: Administration.

Allocation for spending on transfers and subsidies, which is for loans and bursaries to students at universities and TVET colleges amounts to R36,9 billion, which constitutes the bulk of the budget of the Entity. Compensation for employees is allocated R236,3 million and goods and services R137,1 million. Accounting expenditure is allocated R1,3 billion.

Key issues affecting the NSFAS

  • The cabinet approved budget reductions of R6.8 billion over the MTEF period will impact access to education and training.
  • The IT systems are not fit for purpose and still not linked to institutions system, which makes data sharing a challenge.
  • The delays in the finalisation of students’ appeals.

 

5.4. South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

SAQA derives its legislative mandate from the National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008 as amended). In terms of the Act, SAQA is mandated to, amongst others:

  • Provide advice, oversee NQF implementation and collaborate with the Quality Councils;
  • Develop NQF policies and criteria;
  • Maintain a National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD), and provide an evaluation and advisory service with respect to foreign qualifications;
  • Undertake research, collaborate with international counterparts, and drive the communication and advocacy strategy to promote the understanding of the NQF architecture; and
  • Perform any function consistent with the NQF Act that the Minister of Higher Education and Training may determine.

SAQA further derives its policy mandate from the NDP Vision 2030, the White Paper on PSET, including the National Plan for the Post-School Education and Training and the Department’s five-years Strategic Plan.

The MTSF does not specify any direct contribution from SAQA to the five-year outcomes, outcome indicators and targets. The DHET recommended that the SAQA, as the custodian of the NQF should focus their work towards contributing to the achievement of the three outcomes, improved quality; expanded access (Recognition of Prior Learning and Articulation) and improved efficiency. Over the five-years, SAQA in contributing to expanding access to education and training, will review its NQF policies and amend them s to ensure a dynamic NQF that is responsive, adapts to, and supports the changing needs of life-long learning. In ensuring well-articulated quality-assured qualifications and relevant professional designations that instill trust and meets the needs of people, it will ensure that all qualifications registered on the NQF after 1 January 2014 have Articulation pathways within or across Sub-Frameworks. SAQA will also re-design its organisational structure to better suit the delivery of its strategy.

Overview of the SAQA Revised 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plan

SAQA revised its Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025. The Entity had experience funding shortfalls dues to the impact of Covid-19. SAQA struggled to balance its 2020/21 budget because it could generate revenue from services it renderedon the evaluation of foreign qualifications, the verifications of national qualification and services offered to recognised professional bodies. Due to the closure of borders during the lockdown, there were no requests for evaluation of foreign qualifications and government departments also halted their recruitment process, which minimised the verification of national qualifications. SAQA’s own generated revenue constituted 56% of the Entity’s revenue, and the lockdown had adverse effects on the financial sustainability of the Entity. The budget of the Entity for 2020/21 was also reduced. The budget deficit for e 2020/21 amounted to R10,6 million.

Some of the mitigating strategies to avert the instability due to financial pressures were to retrench employees and automate some of its manual processes. The mitigating strategies identified required additional funding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAQA revised its Strategic Plan as follows:

Table 3: Amendments to the Strategic Plan

SECTION

REVISED TEXT

REASON FOR REVISION

8.2

The SAQA Board utilises the following committee structures:

  • Executive Committee
  • Remuneration and Human Resources Committee
  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Information and Information Technology Committee
  • NQF Qualifications Committee
  • Professional Bodies Committee
  • National and Foreign Qualifications Appeals Committee
  • Professional Body Appeals Committee
  • The term of office of the 6th Board ended on 31 December 2020. The 7th Board took office on 01 January 2021.
  • At its first meeting on 29 January 2021, the Board adopted a new governance structure.
  • The amendment reflects SAQA’s new Board Committees.

8e

Information on the capacity of the institution to deliver on its mandate.
The SAQA Board approved SAQA’s new microstructure for implementation, in January 2021. Only once the microstructure has been implemented, monitoring and evaluation completed to identify and fill gaps, will the Board approve the final microstructure. The Board expects to approve this microstructure by July 2021.

SAQA has a staff complement of 81 members. The distribution of staff is as follows:

  • CEO plus support = 2
  • Programme 1: Governance, Strategy, Legal, People, Communications & Stakeholder Relations: 16
  • Programme 1: Finance and Administration: 15
  • Programmes 2 – 5: NQF Operations: 48

 

The current capacity is the minimum structure required to carry out SAQA’s functions. SAQA’s approach to managingunexpected and short-term crises is to make use of short-term contract staff. Also, SAQA will be considering ways to automate processes so that capacity is available to deal with more complex functions.

SAQA’s new structure will be phased in on 1 April 2021 and will be implemented fully by 15 May 2021.

SAQA’s new microstructure was designed on the basis of available funding. Though not ideal, it was designed to support the delivery of mandated functions. This structure may change over time if new functions are added, more service delivery avenues are explored and funding permits.
This structure is set up to
complement efforts to automate processes and employ 4IR technologies to SAQA’s work.

8.2

SAQA’s capacity to deliver on its mandate
The SAQA Board approved SAQA’s new microstructure for implementation, in January 2021. Only once the microstructure has been implemented, monitoring and evaluation completed to identify and fill gaps, will the Board approve the final microstructure.

The Board expects to approve this microstructure by July 2021. At this stage, it seems that the new structure accommodates eighty-one posts. The areas most impacted are the following:

  • NQF Advisory Services – closure of this service
  • Foreign Qualifications Walk-in Centre – closure of this service
  • Advocacy, Communications and Advisory Services – closure of this Directorate and a more streamlined function focusing on the media and communication
    with stakeholders via social media platforms will emerge.
  • NLRD – closure of this Directorate. The database itselfwill be managed by IT, and the MIS unit will have minimal staff to ensure the integrity of the information on the database.
  • International Relations – closure of this Directorate and a more streamlined function is considered under Stakeholder Relations.
  • Combining the Verifications Project (Programme 3) with the Foreign Qualifications Evaluations and Advisory Service (Programme 4) for a more streamlined service provision with less staff and an investment in automation if funding allows.
  • SAQA’s new microstructure will be implemented on 1 April 2021. The microstructure currently accommodates eighty-one posts. This may change during implementation. Approximately one hundred and six employees may be retrenched during this process.

 SAQA experienced financial

difficulties during the lockdown. It was unable to balance its budget.

 

The SAQA Board approved

the implementation of Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

Approximately, 71 employees were to be retrenched. Hours before retrenchment letters were to be issued, DHET gave SAQA an additional R 5 million which stopped retrenchments in the short term, and gave SAQA an additional 3 months to restructure. The new Board approved the microstructure for implementation on 09 February 2021, via a round-robin process.

After implementation on 01 April 2021, SAQA will perform a monitoring and evaluation process to determine the effectiveness of the new structure and make changes where required. The Board will approve the final structure at its meeting on 29 July 2021.

Source: SAQA Combined Strategic Plan 2020-25 and APP 2021/22

 

Focus over the MTSF period and Strategic Outcomes

Over the MSTF period, the work of the Entity will be informed by five Outcomes; namely,

  • Outcome 1: A dynamic NQF that is responsive, adapts to and supports the changing needs of life-long learning
  • Outcome 2: Visionary and influential leadership that drives a clear, evidence-based NQF Agenda
  • Outcome 3: Well-articulated quality-assured-qualifications and relevant professional designations that instil trust and meet the needs of the people
  • Outcome 4: A competent and capable team, dedicated and resourced to develop and maintain the NQF
  • Outcome 5: Stakeholders and role-players who are aligned to deliver on the NQF.

In realising the SAQA Outcomes, the activities will be implemented under six budget programmes; namely, Administration, Registration and Recognition Certification, National Learners’ Records Database, Foreign Qualifications Evaluation and Advisory Service, Research and International Liaison. For the 2021/22 financial year, the Entity has 20 targets.

Selected programmes key deliverables for 2021/22:

  • Programme 1: Administration

The programme covers the activities under the Division Strategy, Governance, People, Legal, Stakeholder Relations and Communications; as well as the Finance and Administration Division and IT under the NQF Operations Division in the new microstructure. Its purpose is to support the operations of SAQA. The purpose of this programme is to support the operations of SAQA. It covers the activities of the Executive office and the following Directorates: Finance and Administration; Human Resources; Information Technology; and Advocacy, Communication and Support. The programme contributes to the achievements of three of the five outcomes, to have visionary and influential leadership that drives a clear, evidence-based NQF Agenda; to have a competent and capable team, dedicated and resourced to further develop and maintain the NQF and to have stakeholders and role-players who are aligned to deliver on the NQF.

The focus of the programme in 2021/22 will be to:

 

  • Report on the effectiveness of the system of collaboration;
  • Advise the Executive Authority on the NQF matters as required;
  • Implement a plan for alternate funding;
  • Implement the new structure;
  • Provide every staff with learning interventions;
  • Develop the electronic Register for misrepresented qualifications and fraudulent qualifications as part of the NLRD if budget permits;
  • Implement four online campaigns aimed at informing the public about the
  • Ensure that the NLRD contains 21 million learner achievements

 

  • Programme 2: Registration and Recognition

The programme is responsible for registering qualifications and part-qualifications, recognising professional bodies and registering professional designations. The programme will implement the targets as follows:

  • Register qualifications recommended by Quality Councils (QCs) that meet all SAQA’s criteria within three months of submission;
  • Track progress made in terms of ensuring that identified qualifications have articulation pathways across and within sub-frameworks.
  • Clearly define the roles of statutory and non-statutory professional bodies in relation to SAQA’s professional body function.

 

  • Programme 3:  National Learners’ Records Database   

The programme covers the work of the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) Directorate and the Verifications Project. The NLRD unit is responsible for maintaining and further developing SAQA’s Management Information System as the critical national source of information for human resource and skills development in policy, infrastructure and planning.

For the 2021/22 financial year, the programme will promote ensure that all recognised professional bodies load designation achievement that meet the requirements; update the Register of Misrepresented Qualifications and complete all applications received for verifications of national qualifications within 25 working days.

 

  • Programme 4:  Foreign Qualifications Evaluation and Advisory Service

The programme is responsible for evaluating foreign qualifications and providing advice on international learning and qualifications. For the 2021/22 financial year, the programme will complete all complaint applications received for evaluation of foreign qualifications within 3 months.

 

  • Programme 5: Research

The programme is responsible for conducting evidence-based research to track the development and implementation of the NQF and to evaluate the impact of the NQF on the people in South Africa. The programme’s key deliverables for 2021/22 are to review the one NQF Policy, produce the draft 2021 NQF Impact Study Report and provide the Minister with a report on progress made by SAQA and the QCs in implementing the Articulation Policy.

  • Programme 6: International Liaison

The programme is responsible for working with international partners on matters concerning qualifications frameworks and sharing best practice with stakeholders. For 2021/22, the programme will identify and implement two initiatives to promote the South African NQF. It will also identify and implement two initiatives to share national and international best practice with stakeholders.

 

The programme will focus on growing its national, regional and global standing, having well-informed stakeholders and implementing the Addis Convention. This Directorate no longer exists under the new structure, but the function falls within the Stakeholder Relations sub-unit in the Strategy, Governance, People, legal, Stakeholder Relations and Communications Division.

Overview and assessment of the SAQA 2021/22 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Budget

SAQA’s revenue over the MTEF period amounts to R457,4 million. For the 2021/22 financial year, SAQA has a total revenue amounting to R147,0 million. The budget is made up of R64,2 million or 43.6%of entity revenue (Evaluation fees, Verifications, Interest, Sundry and Professional Bodies) and R82,7 million or 56.3% from DHET transfers.

The overall budget is projected to grow in the outer two years of the MTEF period to R152,6 million in 2022/23 and R157,8 million in 2023/24. However, when considering inflation, the budget is estimated to decrease to R139,7 million and R138,1 million in 2022/23 and 2023/24, respectively.

The budget is shared among the six programmes, Administration and Support, Recognition and Registration, National Learners Records Database Including Verifications, Foreign Qualifications Evaluation and Advisory Services, Research and International Liaison. The bulk of the budget, representing 53.1% or R78,1 million of the total budget of the Authority is allocated to Administration and Support. Programme 4: Foreign Qualifications Evaluation and Advisory Services receive the second-largest budget amounting to R33,4 million, which constitutes 22.7% of the total budget. This is followed by Programme 3 National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) and Verifications, which is apportioned the third largest allocation amounting to R18,2 million or 12.4%. Programme 2 Registration and Recognition receive R9,7 million or 6.6%. Programme 5 Research receives R4,4 million or 3% and Programme6 International Liaison receives R2,8 million or 1.9% of the SAQA’s total budget.

 

Key issues affecting SAQA

  • SAQA’s revenue generation has been severely hampered by the imposition of the lockdown, consequently impacting negatively on its 2020/21 budget and 2021/22 MTEF.
  • SAQA’s revised revenue projections resulted in a shortfall of R19 million.
  • SAQA’s physical building and the ICT infrastructure have aged and required maintenance and updating. However, there is no budget to refurbish the building and update the ICT infrastructure.
  • SAQA implemented retrenchments to mitigate against the budget shortfall and to continue implementing its mandate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS

The Committee, having considered and deliberated on the 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plans and 2021/22 Annual Performance Plans made the following key observations and findings:

 

6.1. Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

6.1.1. Programme 1: Administration

6.1.1.1.The Committee welcomed the appointment of the Deputy Director-Generals (DDGs) for the           Planning, Policy and Strategy and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) branches and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Department. The Committee noted the progress made in the recruitment process of the DDG position for the Community Education and Training (CET) branch, which has never had a substantive DDG since its establishment.  The Committee further noted and welcomed the appointment of the first black and female CFO of the Department. Additionally, the Committee stressed that the filling of the senior management posts would contribute to the stabilisation of the senior management level and ensure that the Department delivers on its commitments and achieves its vision and mission.

6.1.1.2. The Committee was informed that the DG’s contract would be coming to an end in          August 2021, and the advert had already been published to fill the post so that there will not   be a gap upon DG’s departure.

6.1.1.3. The Committee welcomed and commended the Department for implementing employee benefits for the CET sector. CET lecturers did not receive benefits such as pension, housing, medical like other public service employees. This intervention will go a long in ensuring harmonisation of conditions of services and ensuring that the sector becomes the employment of choice.

6.1.1.4. The Committee noted the impact of the budget reduction on the compensation of           employees over the 2021/22 MTEF. Although the Department indicated that it would   reprioritise its savings resulting from the unfilled vacancies to fill critical vacancies and    use innovations, including automating some of the systems and working with the            Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and National Treasury in the            implementation of the E-Recruitment, the Committee, was however concerned that the       funding shortfall will impact on the Department’s ability to implement staffing norms   in the CET sector, especially the appointment of administration and cleaning staff.

6.1.1.5. The Committee noted with grave concern that the budget cuts of the Department’s budget on compensation of employees may in the long term have adverse impact on the TVET and CET sectors, as the Department would have to freeze the filling of the lecturer posts, which will affect the quality of education and training provision in those sectors as highlighted by the CFO.

6.1.2. Programme 2: Planning, Policy and Strategy

6.1.2.1. The Committee noted the exploitation of students by private student accommodation providers during the COVID-19 lock down period. This was exacerbated by a lack of a framework to regulate private student provision. The Committee was concerned that the target to develop the Framework for the accreditation of private student accommodation for Ministerial approval has been deferred to the end of March 2023, while this is urgently needed to address the myriad of challenges with private student accommodation. The Department indicated that it would consider bringing the target forward.

6.1.2.2. The shifting of the infrastructure development programmes of the Department to the       Planning branch was welcomed by the Committee with the hope that this would           improve their management and coordination.

6.1.2.3. The Committee noted that the Department would be tabling in Parliament the NQF Bill      in March 2022, while the 2019 NQF Act Amendment Bill proclamation is yet to be             assented by the President. The Committee is concerned about the destabilisation of the system with the shorter successive reviews.

6.1.2.4. The Committee noted that the NSFAS Act in its current form is inadequate to enable        the Entity to strengthen its systems. The Act has not been reviewed to take into      consideration fee-free higher education and the move from loans to grants.

6.1.2.5. The Committee welcomed the plans of the Department to address Gender-Based Violence (GBV) through the allocation of funding to Higher Health, including the annual reporting on the implementation of the GBV Framework for the PSET system.

6.1.2.6. The Committee welcomed the Department plans to take into consideration the work of     the Ministerial Task Team on multi-modal, blended learning in preparation for the        development of the strategy for expanding online learning in the PSET system. It was     noted that evidence-based research into the viability of blended learning would assist      the PSET sector to plan better post Covid-19 period.

6.1.3. Programme 3: University Education

6.1.3.1. The Committee welcomed progress made by the Department and its stakeholders in       the appointment of the Steering Committee to commence the work on the feasibility       study to establish the nature and scope as well as location of the two new institutions         of higher learning, University of Science and Innovation in Ekurhuleni and University        for Crime Detection in Hammanskraal.

6.3.1.2.The Committee commended the Department and universities for the successful    completion of   the 2020 academic year despite the disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

6.3.1.3. The Committee welcomed the appointment of the team to review student funding in         general and to come up with proposals to assist students whose parents earn above the        NSFAS threshold of R350 000 per annum or better known as the missing middle.

6.3.1.4. The Committee expressed serious concern with regard to the destruction of        University property whenever the students’ protest for their legitimate demands. The          Committee was informed that the estimated damage to property amounted to R1 billion.            It was    noted that this funding could have been utilised for other priorities in the sector          as opposed to repairing or rebuilding damaged infrastructure. The Committee also          noted that theuniversities’ assets belonged to the future generation, and their destruction will impact negatively on those that are still in the schooling system.

 

6.1.4. Programme 4: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

6.1.4.1. The Committee noted and commended the interventions by the Department to ensure that the TVET sector is responsive and fit for purpose. The plans to have 300 lecturers participating in training in project-based lecturer capacity building programmes in engineering (electrical, plumbing and mechanical); 6 000 lecturers participating in the digital literacy programmes and 50 TVET colleges with Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) centres of excellence established were commended by members as they will go a long way in ensuring that relevant skills are offered in TVET colleges.

6.1.4.2. The Committee noted that TVET colleges were still not funded at 85% programme funding, which hindered the expansion of access to education and training opportunities. This was also exacerbated by the reductions in the baseline funding for the sector. The Committee noted with concern that the MTSF target to have headcount enrolment in the TVET colleges has been adjusted downwards from 710 000 to 620 000 due to funding shortfall. The Committee noted that this was against the aspirations of the White for Post-School Education and Training and the NDP. The other MTSF targets that were adjusted down due to funding constraints included, the placement of TVET lecturers in industry or in exchange programmes which was reduced from 33% to 18%, and Prevocational Learning Programme enrolment from 7 000 to 4 000.

6.1.4.3. The Committee noted that TVET colleges were still not able to spend their allocation on Infrastructure Efficiency Grant since its introduction and this was ascribed to the lack of capacity within colleges.

6.1.4.4. The inclusion of the interventions by the Department to support TVET colleges in establishing disability units to provide comprehensive academic support to students with disabilities was commended. However, the Committee noted that the target was very low more needed to be done in supporting students with disabilities in the sector.

6.1.5. Programme 5: Skills Development

6.1.5.1. The Committee noted the reported Skills Development Strategy by the Minister to support the Presidential Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP). In addition, the Committee welcomed the report by the Minister that the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) uncommitted funds would be redirected towards supporting the ERRP priorities. The invitation proposal by the Minister to present the Skills Development Strategy to the Committee was welcomed.

6.1.5.2. The negative impact of the four months’ skills payment holiday on the revenue of SETAs and the National Skills Fund (NSF) was noted as a concern. The Committee was concerned that the skills interventions meant to support youth and adults would be affected due to the downward revision of targets for these interventions.

6.1.6. Programme 6: Community Education and Training

6.1.6.1. The downward revision of the enrolment targets (555 194 to 388 782 by 2024) for the       CET sector was concerning to the Committee given the important role CET colleges play in up-skilling youth and adults out of school with no basic education, training and skills.

6.1.7. Budget

6.1.7.1. The Committee was cognisant of the current economic conditions arising from the impact            ofthe Covid-19 pandemic and the lock down to mitigating the spread of the virus. However, the Committee noted that Education and Skills were one of the seven Apex Priorities of Government for the 2019 – 2024 MTSF period. It was concerning that the Department responsible for developing human capital to support thecountry’s economy was experiencing a budget shortfall. Cabinet has approved budget reductions to the Department’s baseline funding amounting to R24.6 billion over the MTEF period, to be effected on transfers and subsidies (R19.6 billion), compensation of employees (R4.6 billion), and goods and services (R290.2 million). These reductions included R6.8 billion on the allocation to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS for loans and bursaries, R5.0 billion on university subsidies, and R947.1 million on TVET college infrastructure grants.

6.1.7.2. The Committee noted with concern that Government expenditure on post-school   as a share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was projected to decrease in the outer two          years of the 2021/22 MTEF period to 2.1% and 2.0%, respectively. For the current       financial year, Government expenditure on the PSET sector represents 5.7% as a share    of the total national consolidated expenditure and 29.5% of the total education   expenditure. The Committee further noted that government funding to university as a share of the GDP will grow marginally from 1.3% in 2020/21 to 1.4% in 2021/22 and 2022/23 and will drop to 1.3% in 2023/24. Of grave concern to note is that the budget      of the Department declined in both nominal and real terms.

6.1.7.3. The Committee noted with concern that instead of increasing allocations for subsidies to universities, Cabinet was reducing the allocation by R5 billion over the MTEF period, while institutions were grappling with payments of tuition and residence fees by students. Student historic debt was estimated at R14 billion and the cuts in subsidies will force the institution to increase fees to make up for the funding shortfall. This would exacerbate the current difficulties, especially for self-funded students.

6.1.7.4. The Committee noted with concern the reduction in the allocation for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), which would adversely impact access to post-school education and training for many students from the poor and working-class families. The NSFAS is an important instrument in supporting access to post-school education and training opportunities for students from the poor and working-class families. Additionally, the reported reprioritisation of R3.09 billion (R2,490 billion from universities; R500 million from TVET Infrastructure Efficiency Gant; R50 million from goods and services) from the voted funds and R3,3 billion from the National Skills Fund (NSF) to cater for the 2021/22 NSFAS funding shortfall, which will be effected in the 2021 MTBPS was noted with grave concern. The Committee was concerned that funding meant to support quality of provision in the TVET sector and for skills interventions for the unemployed youth has been redirected to support University students.

6.1.7.5. The Committee expressed a concern regarding the risk that student funding continues     to grow at the expense of University subsidies and if this trend is maintained, student         funding will overtake the subsidies to universities. Consequently, in the medium to long      term, universities’ budgets will be constrained and this will compromise the quality of             higher   education, as there will be more students than the universities can service.

6.1.7.6. The Committee noted that the budget reductions have resulted in the downward adjustments of targets in headcount enrolments in the TVET and CET colleges and long-term knock-on effects on graduate outputs.

6.1.7.7. The Committee noted that the Minister of Finance, Mr Mboweni announced during the      February 2021 Budget Speech that government was committed to ensuring that            deserving students were supported through higher education. The Minister further        noted that the National Treasury was working with the Department of Higher Education     and Training to work on a policy and funding options that would be detailed in the      Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS).

6.1.7.8. The Committee commended the interventions by the Department to absorb the budget cuts amounting to R41 million that were to be effected on the South African Qualifications Authority’s (SAQA) baseline over the MTEF period, including the additional allocation of R5 million to address the funding shortfall.

6.2. Council on Higher Education (CHE)

6.2.1.    The Committee welcomed the appointment of the entity’s new CEO, Dr W Green and       it wished him well.

6.2.2. The Committee expressed its concern with respect to the nine vacant posts at the entity     and the impact this will have on its ability to deliver on its mandate.

6.2.3. Members noted that the entity had previously opposed the review of the NQF Act in the     fifth Parliament, and proposed that the process be halted owing to the recommendations       contained in the NQF Act Implementation Evaluation of 2018, which recommended for           the review of the Act. The Committee was concerned that the NQF Amendment Bill is             planned to be introduced in Parliament in March 2022 despite the pending proclamation   by the President of the NQF Amendment Act of 2019.

6.2.4. The Committee noted that there were indications which suggested that student       performance in higher education had improved since the implementation of remote     learning, and suggested that the entity consider undertaking research on this to         determine whether there are advantages with the implementation of hybrid learning.

6.2.5. The Committee expressed a concern with respect to some universities that were offering    programmes that were not in line with the requirements of some professional bodies or           were being phased-out. This negatively affects students when they have to get    accreditation to practice in their relevant professions. An example was made of the         Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) dental technology programme which was          alleged to not have been accredited by the South African Dental Technicians Council.

6.2.6. The Committee expressed its concern with regard to the existing articulation barriers           across the NQF sub-frameworks.

 

6.3. Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

6.3.1. The Committee expressed a concern regarding the four vacancies in the Entity’s Council that was appointed in September 2020. The successive resignation of members of Council, including the Chairperson impacts on governance and stability of the Entity.

6.3.2. The Committee noted the impact of the four-months skills levy payment holiday on the operational budget of the QCTO, which resulted in the decreased SETAs allocation to the Entity. The QCTO receives 80% of its revenue from the 0.5% of SETA Grant allocation, as per the SETA Grant Regulations. Notably, the SETA Grant allocation to the QCTO decreased by R29,4 million or 30.3% from R97,2 million in 2020/21 to R67.7 million in 2021/22. The QCTO’s total projected revenue for the 2021/22 financial year decreased by R27,3 million or 22.3% from R122,7 million in 2020/21 to R95.3 million in 2021/22. It should be noted that the 0.5% SETA Grant allocation to the QCTO is inadequate to enable to Entity to implement its business model and to fully take over the quality assurance function delegated to the Quality Assurance Partners.

6.3.3. The Committee noted and welcomed the commitment of the Department to engage with relevant stakeholders with the aim of increasing the SETA grant contribution to the QCTO.       

6.3.4. The Committee noted the role the QCTO will have to play in the rolling out of the ERRP and the Department’s Skills Development Plan through its occupational qualifications development, accreditation of providers and quality assurance in the skills provision. Given this critical role, the existing funding levels of the Entity were of great concern as they will negatively impact this important mandate.

6.3.5. The Committee noted and welcomed the undertaking that the QCTO’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) commitments would be implemented. The QCTO assured the Committee that it would mitigate the 2021/22 budget shortfall by applying to National Treasury for roll-over of funds from the previous financial year.

6.3.6. The Committee noted the concerns of the Department regarding the low uptake of the QCTO occupational qualifications, especially by TVET colleges due to their method of delivery, including accreditation challenges. The QCTO reported that the current uptake of the occupational qualifications was 11% (32 out of 300).

6.3.7. The Committee commended the QCTO for signing service level agreements with non-profit organisations and non-governmental organisations in ensuring that its extent its footprint by ensuring that people at the grassroots are provided with relevant skills.

6.3.8. The Committee was concerned by the delays in the finalisation of the purchase of the QCTO own precinct. The issue has been going on for a few years.

6.4. National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

6.4.1.    The Committee commended the leadership of the Entity for the work that had been         done thus far in addressing the inefficiencies at the Scheme. The Committee also     expressed its support of the new leadership to turn-around the situation.

6.4.2. The inadequate communication between the Entity and institutions as well as students        was noted as a serious concern. Members noted that they were inundated with student’   queries which take time to be resolved by the Entity.

6.4.3. The delays by the Entity in finalising the outstanding financial decisions and appeals          dating back to the previous academic year were noted as a concern. There were students      that met all the academic requirements for progression. However, they have not yet        received their allowances.

6.4.3. The Committee expressed its concern with respect to the ICT systems of the entity             which were not fit for purpose. The entity has been struggling to have its ITC systems linked with that of the universities and TVET colleges to improve data exchange to         expedite funding decision and disbursements of tuition fees and student allowances.

6.4.5. The delays with the filling of outstanding vacancies at the entity was noted as a concern     and hindrance to service delivery.

6.4.6. The Entity has been struggling to meets its targets with regard to the collection of debts    from debtors some of whom are in well-paying employment.

6.4.7. The entity continued to fund programmes that are not relevant to the labour market, and this was not a good investment in light of the constrained budget.

6.5. South African Qualifications Authority

6.5.1. The Committee welcomed the newly appointed Chairperson and CEO of the entity, and      observed that the entire leadership of the entity was women. This was commended as     progressive.

6.5.2. The Committee expressed its concern with respect to the impact of the Covid-19    pandemic and economic distress, which hindered SAQA’s ability to generate income          from services rendered and contributed to the undesirable financial situation, which has       also contributed to staff retrenchments.

6.5.3. The Committee welcomed the efforts put in place by the entity to re-imagine its existence   in light of its revised organisational structure.

6.5.4. The Committee expressed its solidarity towards all staff that have unfortunately lost their    jobs at the Entity due to its financial distress. It was noted that the public sector has             always provided job security to staff personnel, and the retrenchments that were             implemented at the entity were unfortunate and would have a detrimental impact not        only on the SAQA staff but their extended family. The Committee also welcome the    commitment by SAQA to recall the retrenched employees in the event that its financial         situation improves.

6.5.5. The delays in the proclamation of the National Qualifications Framework Amendment          Act, 2019 were noted as a concern. The Committee noted that the planned introduction to the NQF Amendment Bill in March 2022 may expand the mandate of       the SAQA, and urged it to proceed with some caution when reconfiguring its business     model.

6.5.6. Members raised concerns with the number of registered qualifications that had no articulation pathways and institutions offering professional qualifications not accredited by the professional bodies.

6.5.7. The Committee noted that the Entity had to close its National Learners’ Records     Database (NLRD), International Liaison and Advocacy Units due to the impact of           the Covid-19 pandemic and inadequate funding to support these units and their   personnel.        

 

7. SUMMARY

The Department and the Entities presented their 2020 – 2025 Strategic Plans and Annual Performance 2021/22 and the budgets. The 2021/22 financial marks the second year of the implementation of the MTSF 2019 – 2024. The Plans are presented amidst the unprecedented economic challenges emanating from the impact of covid-19. The Department and the Entities experienced budget cuts on their baseline as government had to make difficult financial decision to still mitigate the impact of the pandemic and supporting efforts to grow the economy.

The Department revised the 2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan and adjusted down some of the MTSF targets. This was necessitated by the constrained funding. Headcount enrolments for both the TVET and the CET programmes were adjusted down. The Department also included MTSF output indicators that were omitted in the original Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan and APP of the Department continue to support the realisation of Priority 3: Education, Skills and Health.

The APP 2021/22 will focus on ensuring that effective human resource management within the Department through human resource management practices. The Department through the programme will implement effective financial management practices. In 2021/22, the Planning, Policy and Strategy branch will dedicate focus to GBV at universities and TVET colleges, will support the decision in terms of enrolment planning, funding and policy making, expanding online learning in PSET and career development system.

The University Branch with its public universities, will develop and ensure the implementation of enrolment plans for the period 2020 to 2025. This process will ensure equitable participation that is supported by increased numbers of quality staff, affordable fees, inclusive and sustainable financial aid and improved infrastructure. The Branch will conduct a feasibility study to establish the two new universities announced by the President in 2020. The Branch will also produce monitoring and evaluation reports of the system.

In 2021/22, TVET colleges will focus on increasing enrolment and growing training of artisans through the centres of excellence. Enrolment in the sector is capped at 620 000 due to funding constraints. There will be upscaling of entrepreneurship activities as well as the offering of digital skills, including in the CET sector.

The Department is allocated a budget of R97,74 billion, excluding direct charges against the National Revenue Fund. Notably allocation from voted funds for 2021/22 financial decreased in real terms by 3,9%. The Cabinet has approved reductions on the Department’s baseline amounting to R24,6 billion over the MTEF period, to be effected on transfers and subsidies. The reductions will have adverse effects on the operations of the Department, including the NSFAS which the reductions on its baseline amounts to R5,8 billion over the MTEF.

The Committee noted the impact of the budget reductions, especially on access to education and the reprioritisation within the Department’s budget to cater for the NSFAS 2021/22 budget shortfall.

The Committee considered and accepted the APPs of the CHE, QCTO, SAQA and NSFAS. The Committee is concerned about the financial constraints that the entities are experiencing, especially the QCTO and SAQA. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown had adversely hampered SAQA’s ability to generate revenue from rendered services. Consequently, due to the budget deficit, SAQA had to retrench its staff in order to balance its budget. The QCTO’s revenue for 2021/22 decline due to the four-months skills levy contribution holiday. The QCTO receives 80% of its revenue from the 0.5% SETA Grant allocation. SETAs revenue declined due to the four-month skills levy contribution holiday. The QCTO indicated that it will apply to the National Treasury for rollover funds to mitigate the budget shortfall.

8. RECOMMENDATIONS

The Committee, having considered the Strategic Plan 2020 – 2025 and Annual Performance Plan 2021/22 of the Department, the NSFAS, the CHE, the SAQA and the QCTO recommends that the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation consider the following:

8.1. DHET

8.1.1. Programme 1: Administration

8.1.1.1. The filling of the DDG positions for the University Education and CET programmes         be expedited.

8.1.1.2. The Department should expedite the automation of its recruitment process to improve     the turn-around time in filling vacancies.

8.1.2. Planning, Policy and Strategy

8.1.2.1. The Department considers reviewing the timeframes for the development of a Framework for the accreditation of private student accommodation for Ministerial approval, which has been deferred to end of March 2023.

8.1.2.2. The Department should proceed with caution in the amending of the NQF considering that the pending proclamation of the NQF Act Amendment Act of 2019. This would ensure that there is no instability in the sector.

8.1.2.3. The Department needs to improve its oversight function over the PSET institutions to improve governance and accountability.

8.1.2.4. The planning and development of infrastructure in the PSET system should take into consideration the utilisation of multimodal / blended learning method as an alternative in the future and the need to improve on ICT infrastructure.

8.1.2.5. The Department in collaboration with Universities South Africa (USAf) and student leadership of universities and TVET colleges should work on a programme to conscientise students on the importance of safeguarding property and assets of institutions during student protests.

8.1.2.6. The Department should continue engaging with and provide support to SAQA in light of its funding challenges and restructuring.

8.1.2.7. The Department considers reviewing the NSFAS Act, 1999 (Act No. 56 of 1999) considering that the introduction of fee-free higher education and the shift from loans to grants, including strengthening governing structures.

 

8.1.3. Programme 3: University Education

8.1.3.1. The Department should ensure that requisite funding is made available to the Steering Committee that will undertake the feasibility of the establishment of the two new universities in Gauteng. The terms of reference of the Steering Committee should be shared with the Committee.

8.1.3.2. The Department should engage with National Treasury regarding the declining      subsidies to universities. Universities need financial support to maintain and   support their core business in achieving the system MTSF targets.

8.1.3.3. The Department considers entering into partnership with the private sector to       address the acute shortage of student accommodation in higher education.

 

8.1.4. Programme 4: Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

8.1.4.1. The TVET sector needs to be assisted with additional funding to ensure that they are funded at 80% and to be able to increase its headcount enrolment in line with the 2019 – 2024 MTSF and NDP targets.

8.1.4.2. The development and the expansion of TVET infrastructure are crucial in supporting        quality teaching and learning and improving the uptake of Occupational Qualifications            that are relevant to the labour market. Thus, the Department should engage with       Treasury to ensure that no further budget cuts on TVET IEG.

8.1.4.3. The capacity of TVET colleges to roll-out infrastructure projects should be          improved to avert the underspending on infrastructure grants in this sector.

 

8.1.5. Programme 5: Skills Development

8.1.5.1. The Department should expedite the engagement process to review the 0.5% SETA Grant allocation to the QCTO to address the inadequate funding of Entity and ensure that it implements its business model, especially with the critical role it has to play in support of the ERRP and the implementation of the Department’s Skills Development Strategy.

 

 

 

8.1.6. Community Education and Training (CET)

8.1.6.1. The CET sector is severely underfunded and unable to meet its basic operational needs. Additional funding to support and expand this sector is critical.

8.1.6.2. The harmonisation of the conditions of service for all employees of the CET sector should be expedited.

 

 

8.2. Budget

8.2.1. The Minister of Finance committed that the National Treasury will work with the       Department of Higher Education and Training to work on a policy and funding options            that would be detailed in the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). The    Department should follow up with National Treasury.

8.2.2. In addition to engaging on a policy and funding options for students, National Treasury      should also consider additional funding to increase universities subsidies to avert the increase in student and residence fees by universities to make up for the government      funding shortfall as this will increase student debt and instability in the higher education             sector as witnessed at the beginning of 2021 academic year.

 

8.3. Council on Higher Education (CHE)

8.3.1.    The CHE in collaboration with the Department undertakes a research study to look into    the higher education sector post Covid-19 period and the changing assessment       processes given the multimodal teaching and learning methods in the sector.

8.3.2.    The filling of the vacant positions be expedited to improve service delivery at the entity.

 

8.4. Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO)

8.4.1.    The Minister should expedite the appointment of the four members of the QCTO             Council.

8.4.2. The QCTO should expedite the application to National Treasury for roll-over funds to address the 2021/22 financial year budget shortfall.

8.4.4. The QCTO in collaboration with the SETAs should support TVET and CET colleges in addressing the current challenges that contribute to the low uptake of occupational qualifications.

8.4.5.    The process undertaken by the QCTO to purchase its own building to avert the rental costs has been ongoing for over a few years without reaching its finality. The QCTO should finalise this process.

 

8.5. National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS)

8.5.1.    The new leadership should focus on rectifying the inefficiencies that had been     hindering the Entity’s ability to delivering on its mandate. The NSFAS should be in a      position to fund the correct eligible student at the right time.

8.5.2.    The filling of vacancies, in particular senior management positions should be expedited   to improve service delivery at the entity. The Board should ensure that those appointed        at the Entity possess the requisite skills and experience.

8.5.3.    The entity should develop a fund raising strategy aimed at improving its revenue in          light of the fiscal constraints.

8.5.4.    The entity should invest more resources into its debt recovery strategy to meet its targets            of recouping funds from former beneficiaries.

8.5.5.    The process of procuring the ICT system that is fit for purpose should be expedited to    improve the disbursement of funding and allowances to institutions and ultimately to   students. The new ICT system should be synchronised with that of universities and             TVET colleges to improve data exchange.

8.5.6. The deployment of resources to institutions to respond to student queries should be          improved.

 

8.6. South African Qualifications Authority (QCTO)

8.6.1. The Committee urges the Entity to continue to soldier on in delivering on its mandate         despite the difficult financial situation and retrenchment of staff.

8.6.2.    The entity considers leasing parts of its building to tenants with the objective of generating more revenue to meet its expenses.

8.6.3. The process of filling the CFO position and other vacant posts be expedited.

 

Report to be considered.

 

 

 

 

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