Boost for TVET college campus managers

Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande shares a lighter moment with Feroz Patel, deputy director for TVET colleges.

While severe challenges continue to torment Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVET) across the country, the Department of Higher Education and Training says it is working tirelessly to find appropriate solutions.

Lack of funding and poor infrastructure were identified as some of the main problems that these institutions had been battling with over the years.

This emerged when Minister Blade Nzimande visited the Khayelitsha campus of False Bay College to hand out certificates to 40 college campus managers from various colleges across the country, on Thursday May 11.

They had completed a six-month phase one professional development programme which focused on good governance, management, leadership and curriculum development.

False Bay Khayelitsha branch manager, Haido Mteto, said the training was vital in up-skilling managers and that it would help them implement effective strategies to improve the quality of education.

He said many campus managers were frustrated by the challenges they had to deal with.

However, despite the challenges, Mr Mteto said colleges continued to play an integral role in developing and affording opportunities to artisans.

He said the lack of funding remained a major obstacle and while the department had mandated them to increase their students intake annually, they were unable to accommodate larger numbers due to limited space.

“This programme has provided an opportunity to share skills and (learn) how to overcome the challenges,” he said.

“Mostofthechallenges facing the TVET colleges are not unique, so this programme is vital in redressing them. But the main challenge facing the colleges is the negative perception people have towards these institutions as they are often belittled.”

Mr Nzimande said the programme formed part of their turn-around strategy to improve the quality of teaching and learning. He said the lack of support for campus managers had been identified as a weak point.

Mr Nzimande said some colleges were in deep rural areas and their managers felt alone and unsupported. “The biggest shortage in this country is in the middle level skills that are acquired from the colleges and universities of technology and that is where the governments needs to make an expansion.

“We aware of the negative attitude that people have about colleges, hence we are working around the clock to expose them,” he said.