Dr Blade Nzimande has challenged Tertiary and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college campus managers to take responsibility for quality teaching at their campuses.
The Minister was speaking at a two-day workshop in May, at the Khayelitsha campus of False Bay TVET College. The workshop was part of the Professional Development of Campus Managers Programme, an initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The objective of the programme was to address the operational and strategic challenges common in the management of campuses in the TVET college sector.
With more than 250 campus sites and in excess of 700 000 students, the 50 public TVET colleges are making a huge impact on higher education and training in South Africa.
However, for historical reasons, there is a wide disparity in resources and management skills between institutions, and even between campuses of the same college.
Many colleges have battled over the years to overcome these inequities, citing lack of funding and poor infrastructure.
Emphasising that the programme formed part of DHET’s Turnaround Strategy to improve the quality of teaching and learning at TVET colleges, Minister Nzimande stressed that parity was non-negotiable.
“Regardless of whether a young person is a student in Nqutu, Lusikisiki or in Germiston, the quality of the teaching must be equally good. It does not matter which TVET college or campus a student studies at, he or she must receive his or her learning materials such as textbooks, on the day lectures commence,” declared Dr Nzimande.
While acknowledging that certain campuses faced challenges such as lack of running water due to drought, Dr Nzimande insisted that challenges should not become excuses for non-delivery of quality education. Campus managers should be creative and should encourage businesses to sponsor initiatives. Some campuses had done this with great success and had acquired world class facilities.
However, he warned campus managers that no business would sponsor a poorly managed institution. “It is up you to show potential sponsors and partners that you manage a good campus and that if they partner with you, both your campus and their businesses will benefit,” said the Minister.
The Professional Development of Campus Managers Programme, which is funded by the National Skills Fund, is intended to roll out nationally in three phases.
Campus managers from all nine provinces, including the most challenged sites and rural campuses, were selected to participate in the first phase. Fifteen regional officials selected from each of the six regions were also provided with ongoing support and capacity building throughout this phase.
As part of Phase One, 40 campus managers were provided with training, support and monitoring tools. The training and support materials utilised in this initiative were conceptualised and produced by task teams comprising TVET College Principals and practitioners within the TVET sector.
In Phase Two, 110 more campus managers will be included in the project.
By the end of Phase Three, all campus managers from all 50 public TVET colleges nationwide will have participated in the training provided.
In closing, Minister Nzimande urged participants to use the project to form local “communities of practice”, and to work with campus managers close by regardless of institutional, regional or provincial restrictions.
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