Daily Dispatch

MBSA opens trade testing centre

Now artisan candidates can write exams in EC

- By MIKE LOEWE

THE Eastern Cape department of education had to free itself from the strangleho­ld of eternal union consultati­on and move on to deal with a massive school dropout rate, education MEC Mandla Makupula said on Monday.

He was speaking at the opening of the R3-million Mercedes-benz South Africa (MBSA) Trade Test Centre. The centre was lauded by the MEC and senior MBSA human resources leaders for boosting artisan skills developmen­t in the province.

Officials and MBSA staff were also celebratin­g the 30th anniversar­y of the MBSA Technical Training Centre.

The decentrali­sed trade test centre is the first to be made available locally to artisan and trade candidates working in the eastern half of the province, including Transkei and the former Border corridor areas.

The centre has been accredited by the MERSETA (manufactur­ing, engineerin­g and related services sector) and companies no longer have to send their candidates out of the province to write their exams.

About 100 trainee millwright and automotive electricia­ns are expected to write their exams at the centre this year.

The centre will also cater for apprentice electricia­ns soon, MBSA said.

Makupula praised MBSA for its excellent training track record, but said the province’s schooling system was in crisis.

The system was shot through with holes such as a failure to teach BODMAS mathematic­s in primary school and conveyor belt teaching that saw pupils arriving ill-prepared for their matric year.

Altogether, this had resulted in an enormous dropout rate of 180 000 pupils per 12-year school cycle.

This year’s matric class was only 70 000-strong after starting out with 250 000 pupils in 2000.

Last year’s 78 000 matriculan­ts were all that remained of 260 000.

Many of the Eastern Cape school children who had dropped out were probably part of the three million youths in South Africa not attending school or receiving any form of training.

Makupula suspected many of them were struggling to survive, and that some had turned to crime.

The MEC, who made it clear he was delivering a provincial government perspectiv­e and had the blessing of premier Noxolo Kiviet, said that in the past his department could do nothing without first consulting the unions.

However, he said there came a stage in negotiatio­ns and bargaining where government had to break and move on.

He said educationa­l experts, his department and unionists had undermined the most important sector in the system, namely the parents and communitie­s.

MBSA human resources vice-president Johann Evertse said their training centre remained a ray of hope since starting 30 years ago during the dangerous and turbulent apartheid period.

The new trade testing wing would see numbers grow in a similar way to that of the training centre, which started out with only 81 students, and in 30 years trained 10 000 students, among them 2 000 apprentice­s.

The centre also provided 600 people with managerial training and 4 000 people benefited from multiskill­ing education.

MERSETA Eastern Cape manager Zwelethemb­a Ngayeka said his division had funded 600 apprentice­ships in a four-year training cycle and was also funding 300 learnershi­ps a year, mostly in the auto, tyre, rubber, plastics, metal and engineerin­g sectors.

Makupula said the MERSETA had spent R22-million on learnershi­ps. — mikel@dispatch.co.za

 ?? Picture: MIKE LOEWE ?? SKILLS BOOST: From left, Johann Evertse, Mercedes-benz South Africa vice-president of human resources, Eastern Cape education MEC Mandla Makupula and Goodman Lucwaba, MBSA divisional manager of human resources, cut the ribbon at the launch of the...
Picture: MIKE LOEWE SKILLS BOOST: From left, Johann Evertse, Mercedes-benz South Africa vice-president of human resources, Eastern Cape education MEC Mandla Makupula and Goodman Lucwaba, MBSA divisional manager of human resources, cut the ribbon at the launch of the...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa