The Select Committee on Education and Recreation is concerned by a 10-year backlog in certification of students from technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges, MPs were told on Wednesday.
The committee was briefed by the South African College Principals’ Organisation (Sacpo) on the challenges with the certification of TVET students. They implored the Department of Higher Education and Training(DHET) to address the challenge.
The Chairperson of the committee, Lungelwa Zwane, said it is concerning that students, many of whom come from poor backgrounds, are made to wait more than 10 years before getting their certificates.
“The fact that we sit here with a backlog from as far back as 2007 means that someone is not doing their job efficiently between the DHET, Sita [State Information Technology Agency], Umalusi and TVET colleges,” said Zwane.
Zwane added that the delays in issuing certificates to students from technical and vocational education training (TVET) colleges hampered their capacity to find employment.
Sacpo told the select committee on education and recreation that some students had waited more than 10 years for their certificates.
Sacpo president Hellen Ntlatleng sketched a picture of a sector in disarray. She said some certificates had incorrect details, or were sent by DHET to the wrong campuses.
She added that college officials failed to arrange for certificates to be sent to the correct campuses in their institutions and colleges struggled to get feedback from the department about outstanding certificates.
DHET appointed a new service provider responsible for printing certificates in March 2018.
The committee advised the department to meet with Sita, Umalusi and colleges to devise solutions before the end of the financial year.
Zwane said these problems may have been as a result of lack of resources which directly impacted human capacity and under-resourcing of the examination section, which deals with the certification systems data.
TVET colleges remain underfunded with many of them experiencing leadership and infrastructure problems.
What is ironic is that DHET deputy minister, Buti Manamela, said his department has declared the month of August TVET Month.
August is to be used as a platform to encourage young people to consider college programmes at TVET colleges.
It has embarked on programmes such as Khetha that it uses to expose colleges to young people.