Parliament has expressed concern over a high number of vacant positions at executive and senior management level at TVET colleges.
This is after the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education conducted oversight visits at colleges in the Eastern Cape ahead of classes starting for the 2024 academic year.
The colleges included King Sabata Dalindyeb college and Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha.
According to committee chairperson Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, at the college the committee noted the maintenance and refurbishment work done in lecture halls at the campus, the first since the college was established.
“Notwithstanding the progress made, the committee is concerned with inadequate maintenance of the newly built student hostels and unhygienic kitchens where students prepare their meals. It called upon the management and the student community to look after their infrastructure,” said Mkhatshwa.
She said they were satisfied with the college’s enrolment and registration processes that progressed without any “major hiccups”.
“The committee is concerned about the vacant principal position, which has been occupied by five different incumbents over five years.
“This situation must be resolved. The college leadership told the committee that it experienced student drop-outs as a result of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) delays in finalising funding decisions, which led to other delays in the disbursement of student allowances.
“The committee commended the college for the well-kept workshops and also noted the need to expand the space to safely store workshop equipment,” said Mkhatshwa.
However, there was a theft issue reported by students of electrical equipment used in the workshop.
“The committee was concerned that Walter Sisulu University experienced a 5% decline in its overall success rate during 2023 and called on management to find solutions to arrest the decline.
“The committee commended the university for ensuring that all its courses have been accredited.
“Management told the committee that previous student strikes were caused by a lack of clarity on funding. However, they are hopeful that with engagements between students and management, future strikes could be averted.
“The committee commends the calibre of members of the council. Good governance and management is important in building our institutions,” said Mkhatshwa.