Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has admitted that unqualified lecturers‚ weak management and infrastructure problems at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges are a challenge. He said the colleges were “a mess”.
Speaking in Pretoria‚ the minister said the issue of poorly qualified lecturers‚ as raised by the SA Further Education and Training Students Association‚ was concerning.
“It is a very valid concern‚ you find someone with an N6 Diploma teaching N6 students. You also find that there are lecturers with no practical experience‚” he said.
Nzimande said his department had already started with interventions to deal with the issue of unqualified lecturers at these colleges.
He said the higher education and training department have now partnered with some universities to start offering dedicated lecturer qualifications for TVET colleges.
“It is not something that can be sorted in a year. It is going to take time but we have started the process‚” he said.
He said the infrastructure challenge at these colleges was also valid‚ saying this was not just limited to provision by the state of lecture halls.
Nzimande said this was because there had been no money for a very long time for maintenance or for expansion.
“That is what we are working on as a department just like what we have done with universities‚ where we have infrastructure allocation each year‚” the minister said.
He said on top of the three new colleges to be opened this year‚ eight more were in the pipeline.
Nzimande said some colleges had a very poor governance system‚ poor management‚ which included poor management of finances and management of human resources.
He said there were certain measures government has taken to address the mess.
“The chronic difficulties that has been faced by colleges is underfunding. If government does not increase funding to colleges we are going to face enormous problems…we did not pay attention to expansion of colleges‚” Nzimande said.