Bureaucracy with its redtape can leave people misinformed thereby taking decisions that are in sharp contrast to national aspirations in matters of national importance. I was informed by authorities at one FET college that the DoHE&T is in the process of fazing out FET Nated courses which will be completely non-existent come year 2015. The said authorities were pretending to be talking from a well informed platform and they have already started doing away with N4, enrolling only their students who need to repeat the level in order to advance to N5 next semester and those that are sponsored by companies for their education. From my on understanding, this issue is still under discussion and there is no decision yet to do away with these courses.
The argument by these said authorities of thois college was that the government was no longer subsidising N4 courses and next year they will drop N5 from susisisation untilyear 2014 when the government will halt susisdies for these courses completely. The college has therefore started downsizing its enrolment for N4 courses this semester. I was baffled by the decision as I had not heard or seen a document with a final decision on this matter which will undoubtedly condemn a lot of young citizens to a life of no hope.
Then it happened that on July 19 2010 on SAFM morning talk show, the guest was the Hon Nzimande the Minister of Higher Education and Training. I sent an SMS inquiring on why the department has seen fit to faze out these courses when there many students who are qualifyong for university entrance, can not get learnerships and jobs.
The Minister said the department has never taken any decision to do away with FET Nated courses but was looking forward to expanding this area to absorb all students who are currently facing a gloomy future in the streets. The Minister emphasised that the department is looking at making available more funds to FET colleges to enrol more students as well as aligning the whole school system, so as a learner can progress from high school to FET to University of Technology to University within a system with a synergy. A learner who has not qualified to enter university and university of technology will be accepted by an FET college which will act as a bridging instituion. If the student does well then the student will gain entrance to a university of technology, then the traditional university.
I wonder whether the department can be alerted that the confusion that the debate about the future of FET NATED courses is resulting in some colleges taking uninformed unilateral decisions that are retrogressive as far as the need for country to educate and skill tomorrows’ workers is concerned.