MBSA opens trade testing centre
Now artisan candidates can write exams in EC
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. — email@example.com