Skills-Universe

I attended the meeting arranged by DHET held on Tuesday 30 October 2012 to brief Private FET Colleges on the implications of the Interim Guidelines on the Registration and Accreditation of Private Providers Offering Qualifications or Part-qualifications in the Trades and Occupational Sector. I believe all parties involved already read the guidelines, so I will not repeat them here. The DHET should be commended for organising the meeting and for the patience that Dr Buthelezi and other DHET speakers showed towards the attendees. I will get back to this in my closing remarks.

The following are some salient aspects of the guidelines that were discussed:

  1. All qualifications that were previously registered as SETA qualifications will be transferred to the QCTO. One would like the QCTO to confirm that they will accept unit standard aligned qualifications until such time as new curriculums have been written for all qualifications. This will probably take a number of years.
  2. If you voluntarily opt out of your provisional registration with DHET or if you do not indicate in writing that you wish to keep your provisional registration until it expires your institution’s name will be removed from the DHET database. This might have serious implications because clients and learners do not always understand the system or the NQF, and their perception is that learning institutions registered by DHET are better than ones that are not. Furthermore, DHET is creating unnecessary work for themselves because they will need to process annual reports submitted by private learning institution that opt to keep their provisional registration. Why not just cancel all provisional registrations and communicate this as widely as possible? Private learning institutions can also communicate what this means to their clients, as Mentornet already did.
  3. Not being required to register with DHET if you offer only OQF qualifications and part-qualifications is a temporary arrangement. The Skills Development Act will be amended in the near future and will then stipulate that such learning institutions, accredited by the QCTO, must also register with DHET.

In closing, I wish to return to my remark in the first paragraph that the DHET presenters displayed remarkable patience. You know, it is true that state departments do not always provide a professional service, and we all experience quite some frustration because of this. However, we will achieve nothing by being rude and insulting towards people, especially when they do their best to keep us informed. It is very easy to read a person’s body language, especially if it is accompanied by a hostile tone of voice. If you push people they will always push back and you will not achieve anything by shouting at them, threatening them, blaming them and adopting a superior attitude. Ironically some private providers know so little about the NQF and ETD related legislation that they are making utter fools of themselves. I was truly impressed with the mature and patient manner in which Dr Buthelezi dealt with the man who clearly does not even know what the requirements for accreditation and registration are but still adopted this attitude of being very clever and informed. Treating people with respect can go a long way towards fostering a climate of trust and co-operation. Even if the government officials are no always as proficient as they should be, we can achieve so much more by having more understanding for them and explaining rather than attacking, asking rather than demanding and guiding rather than insulting.

Dr Hannes (Jaap) Nel, MD Mentornet   

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Hannes thank you for your feedback- did the DHET give any indication of when and how we  need to communicate with them about our registration.

Providers must inform DHET in writing by the 7 November if they wish to remain registered or else all providers will be removed by default.  If you have notified DHET of your intention and you now want to change your choice you can also do so by the 7th.

 

 

I have a pretty good idea about who might have misbehaved .... par for the course, is all I can say.

 

Name and shame ....

Hi everyone - one issue that has not been address is that of VAT.  SARS exempts private providers who are registered with DHET from the VAT Act because there is no VAT on educational services.  But the VAT Act clearly states that the company must be registered with DHET (this is section 12(h)(i)(aa) of the VAT Act 1991).  If we are de-registered does this mean we now need to charge VAT, which will increase the cost of education to the end user?  I have directed an enquiry to SAQA on behalf of CIMAP for an official answer - but maybe someone else would like to speculate while i am waiting for SAQA to get back to me?

Hi Karen

Please could you get in touch with me regarding your comment on FET Colleges vs. VAT exemption. My email is handri@thrive.co.za

Thanks - looking forward to hearing from you!

Handri Stadler

Thank you for a very accurate account of the meeting. 

I could not agree more with Hannes and Theuns. While listening to some of the arguments made by some of the private providers (especially one), I now know why there is a perception that private providers generally does not belong in the system. (Rude and uninformed)  

Which is really counterproductive, since there has been much speculation that the Government wants to get rid of private providers.  As you say, if that is true, this sort of behaviour simply confirms the view that they don't belong.  We do rather shoot ourselves in the foot sometimes.

Two trends have come out of this discussion - the legal technicalities of whether the interim arrangements are sustainable (or actionable) prior to the necessary legal amendments, and also the manner in which providers deal with government officials.
On the second point, one assessment of USA Presidential election suggested that voters voted for the person who seemed better able to deal with difficult problems and people. It seems that the people who succeed best in today's complex, difficult, contested environments (which definitely describes skills development), are not the richest, the best educated or the most intelligent, but the ones best able to work constructively within that environment.
Finally - an observation. Silence implies consent, so I'd suggest that if one attends a meeting where the audience is from a common interest group and one of the audience is particularly rude, and the audience remains silent, the implication is that they are in agreement.

Hi Sylvia

This is just an update on the issue regarding the Joint Communique of 2012 and the deregistration of private FET providers that do not offer Umalusi qualifications.

I see in today's New Age newspaper is a message to the Matric Class of 2012 and out-of-school youth from Minister Nzimande, giving them advice about the process for registering at Public FET Colleges. He also urges students who want to enrol at private colleges that they have to ensure that the college is "legally registered", by asking a set of questions (inter alia):

1. "Is the private education institution registered with the DHET?"

2. "If registered, is the certificate for registration displayed?"

4. "Is the qualification you are interested in listed on the certificate?"

It seems that the DHET missed the trick here to inform students of the new registration requirements of private FET/SD providers - it is as if the Joint Communique never happened.

I sincerely hoped that 2013 would bring more clarity...

Regards

Theuns

 

Theuns, thank you so much for that clarification and update on the communication from DHET.

Well said Dr Nel, thanks for sharing this information with us.That is what i like about this site,we are at all times informed and updated, keep up the good work.

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