Business to step up to help cash-strapped colleges

BusinessLive reports that the government has conceded that the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and sector education and training authorities (Setas) face dire financial difficulties, saying it will soon approach business for help. The auditor-general’s 2016-17 report on the Department of Higher Education and Training has raised concern about the sustainability of tertiary education after it incurred nearly R1bn in irregular expenditure. According to the report, nearly half of all 50 TVET colleges received a qualified, adverse or disclaimed audit opinion.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said on Wednesday that his department had been perversely underfunded for a long time and that this had affected the ability of the department to carry out some of its mandated responsibilities. On Thursday, a declaration was signed by the department, labour unions and the business community, committing stakeholders to resuscitating TVET colleges and ensuring students were employable by the time they left school.  Business Unity SA’s (Busa’s) Sino Moabalobelo said that once the final version of the declaration was available, Busa had to circulate it to members “to enable us to obtain a mandate”. Through the declaration, the department has called for a co-ordinated funding mechanism across higher education institutions and greater participation by business.

by Michelle Gumede