Protests: colleges warned
STUDENT protests will spread from universities to technical and vocational education and training colleges if they increase fees or fail to accommodate those in need of a post-school qualification.
This was the warning from chairwoman of Parliament’s higher education oversight committee Yvonne Phosa after the Department of Higher Education and Training presented a progress report this week on the transfer of the TVET colleges from provinces to the national level.
She said the “clarion call” had been that those who couldn’t go to university should receive a college education, yet the department was urging caution in ramping up enrolment numbers before there were adequate facilities and lecturers trained to accommodate them.
She was responding to the department’s deputy director-general, Firoz Patel, who warned that three factors – student numbers, facilities and lecturers – had to be kept in balance, even if there was a need to drastically increase enrolments.
There are just over one million university students, compared to 700 000 in TVET colleges, while the government policy proposes the ratio should be three to one in favour of the colleges to fill the gap in technical skills in the country.