Higher Education Laws Amendment Bill
Comments By Mr A M Mpontshane


National Assembly: Tuesday, 16 November 2010 


Honourable Speaker:

I just want to give the Hon Minister the assurance that the IFP does support these three pieces of legislation.  The functions that you are expected to perform are old and well known. They are skills development, FET colleges, and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS.

Yet, in the tradition of Charles Dickens, we have great expectations. On the basis of those great expectations, the IFP will request the Hon Minister to look at the following issues.

Firstly, we would like the Hon Minister to reduce the gap between legislation and implementation – in other words, between theory and practice. Our legislation is top drawer but our implementation thereof leaves a great deal to be desired. In other words, we must go beyond the dialogues and the summits to which the Minister has referred.

Secondly, we would like the Minister to look at the problem of the FET colleges. We believe that the programmes of FET colleges are just not providing the types of skills our economy requires. There also seems to be a mindset attached to FET colleges which says that such institutions are inferior to universities. This must be addressed because it is not doing our programme or our learners any good.

Thirdly, we request the Minister to conduct an audit of the teaching staff at FET colleges and centres because we believe that certain FET training centres have either unqualified educators or badly qualified educators. This is more serious as it hinders the delivery of quality education to FET learners and detracts from the country’s skills base.

Fourthly – and we would like to raise this point for future policy considerations even though it is not directly linked to this debate - we would like to have a more concise definition of the term “educator”. In fact, the IFP wants to be consistent here because, during the debate on the principal Act, we did object to this wide and unlimited definition of the term “educator” to include everybody and anybody.