Dr Blade Nzimande. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena
Dr Blade Nzimande. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena

TVET colleges set lose some funding due to poor pass rates

By Bongani Nkosi Time of article published Nov 26, 2019

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Public technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges will soon lose part of its state funding, amounting to millions of rand, due to poor pass rates.

This merit-based funding model that the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) was planning to implement would see underperforming colleges cut their student numbers and lose out on funds to improve infrastructure and research.

A detailed document inviting the public to comment on this bold plan has been published in the current national gazette.

Underperformance of most of the country’s 50 public TVET colleges, with more than 260 campuses, has been a problem for many years.

In its report, the department revealed that the national pass rate for the matric-equivalent NCV Level4 was as low as 31.4%.

The department, headed by Minister Blade Nzimande, now appeared to believe linking funding to output would improve the performance of the institutions.

“It is important that the new funding system should be sensitive to the outputs achieved by public colleges,” said the document. “There are two ways the new system deals with the matter of efficiency and outputs.

“First, the system allows the DHET to expand enrolment in colleges that prove to be efficient and decrease enrolment in inefficient colleges.

“Second, the system includes an output bonus as well as input-output funding that should be considered a performance incentive that eligible colleges can utilise to improve their facilities and conduct further research.”

The department stressed that this “output-related” system would be dependent on credible measurement of college performance, “both in terms of successful completions and in terms of the labour market performance of graduates”.

“Corrective measures” would be taken against the management of colleges for poor performance, said the document, before cutting student numbers. Speaking to The Star on Monday, department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the plan was aimed at improving outputs at TVETs.

“There’s a public trust deficit of TVET education,” said Mnisi. “Through this means, we aim to improve the image of the TVET colleges.”

But the plan seemed too ambitious considering the inequality of resources between urban and rural colleges, said the president of the SA College Principals Organisation (Sacpo), Sanele Mlotshwa.

“As Sacpo we would support such a proposal. But we think that some state work must be done before that is implemented. The ground must be leveled for all colleges,” he said.

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