Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

South African teachers in Taiwan who graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday after an impasse that had them worried about their jobs on the island.

Education authorities in Taiwan raised concerns about CPUT not appearing on a list of universities on the official South African Department of Basic Education website. The institution does appear on other sites listing universities‚ including the Department of Higher Education and Training, but the sites were either flagged as being not secure or not ending in ". gov".

Paul Andre and a group of other teachers alerted the Depart of Basic Education to the problem‚ raising concerns that some teachers’ work permits would not be renewed. "Due to the fact that we are not being listed‚ all CPUT qualified teachers in Taiwan‚ Asia‚ will be unemployed because [its] ministry of education recognises only the universities mentioned on that list‚" he said in an e-mail to the department.

Department of Higher Education and Training deputy director-general of university education‚ Diane Parker‚ wrote back saying: "This is clearly an error on the Department of Basic Education website — we will follow up and ensure it is corrected. Please note that that [department] is not the official education site for higher education.

"CPUT [is] an institution named on our website www.dhet.gov.za; the Department of Higher Education and Training is responsible for all higher education in SA. We will also provide an official letter indicating that it it’s a recognised, accredited institution, if that is required."

Frank Shih‚ an official at the Taipei liaison office in Cape Town told TimesLIVE that the Department of Basic Education list was the one that was recognised. He said listings of accredited universities using the ". co.za" domain were not regarded as having the same weight as those ending in ". gov".

The Department of Basic Education’s website was updated with CPUT’s details by Wednesday‚ and the Department of Higher Education and Training wrote a letter that teachers could submit to officials in Taiwan‚ dated May 14‚ confirming that CPUT was recognised as a "public higher education institution".