Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS
Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande. Picture: GCIS

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has instructed his department to convene a technical vocational education and training (TVET) forum to create a quick and effective channel of communication.

He said the forum would seek to bring student representatives‚ college administrators and senior officials from his ministry to the table.

The minister said he has also requested his director-general‚ Gwebinkundla Qonde‚ to set up an intervention task team to speed up the process of current initiatives being implemented to improve the quality of teaching and learning at TVET colleges.

"…We recently received a list of grievances from the body representing TVET students. We take this list and the students’ body very seriously‚" he said.

Last week‚ the South African Further Education and Training Students Association (Safetsa) threatened to shut down 50 of the country’s colleges‚ and called for the department to intervene in the critical issues the sector was grappling with.

It cited weak leadership‚ corruption‚ unqualified lecturers‚ lack of certification and student support as factors that had collapsed the sector.

"There is nothing in the memorandum we have received from Safetsa that cannot be resolved with a bit of goodwill and determination by the TVET colleges‚ of course supported by the Department of Higher Education and Training‚" he said.

Speaking in Pretoria on Thursday‚ Nzimande invited students to be part of this effort to get things right.

He said the government’s commitment to the higher education cause was demonstrated in part by the substantial increases in funding to National Student Financial Aid Scheme since 2010.

"We remain committed to finding the resources to support the children of all poor‚ working-class and middle-class families in their quest to better their lives and those of their families through skills acquisition‚" Nzimande said.

TMG Digital/TimesLIVE

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