PROBED: Sadtu has proposed that FET colleges such as Motheo be strengthened so that they can enrol more students and improve skills capacity. Picture: Getrude Makhafola
The portfolio committee on education and sports arts and culture and recreation reported the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) proposed that the amendment on the higher education institution legislation needed to include second type institutions such as FET colleges.
These are some of the suggestions Sadtu has proposed for the Further Education and Training Colleges Act.
Some of the union recommendations were that there was a need to strengthen the FET sector and expand on their capacity to enrol students and to improve skills capacity as stipulated in the national skills development plan.
The discussions surrounding FET colleges also come as a result of the conflicts at the Motheo FET College where students did not receive books on time and some students did not receive student cards. The situation at the Bloemfontein-based college became so bad that the principal was suspended.
Students said some teachers were not qualified for their positions and after discussions with the college, the matter was resolved. This brought about further discussions within the legislature and as a result, Sadtu members made their recommendations that FET colleges be given priority.
The union said more adult learning centres were needed and that there was insufficient funding for the sector of higher learning.
There was a need to diversify the programmes offered at FET colleges and proposed the retention of N-courses. “In order to improve the quality of education at colleges, more focus on research, innovation is needed.”
Sadtu said that the issue of transformation should not be neglected when attempting to amend the bill. The union also said that the act should reduce the system of short courses and introduce formal student support programmes.
“The Department of Higher Education and Training should put in systems to support vulnerable students. They should also put in a system to support adult students.”
The committee members said that FET colleges should be aligned with international standards and provide an opportunity for students to participate in exchange programmes.
“The bill should absorb temporary adult education and training teachers on a permanent basis and have the qualifications of those educators defined in the bill.”