Feedback on urgent meeting for Private FET Colleges by the DHET

Front Page Looking For… Diversity, Culture, Ethics, Values, Morals, Equality, Race, Ethnicity Feedback on urgent meeting for Private FET Colleges by the DHET

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 30 total)
  • Author
  • #5681
    Hannes Nel

    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   

    Share on Social Media

    Hannes, thank you so much for your feedback and observations on the behaviour towards government officials.  My main experience of government officials has been while serving on a Seta board, and in attending Parliamentary portfolio committees.  In my experience, all officials with whom I have dealt, have been unfailing polite and professional – and with very few exceptions  – extremely capable and incredibly knowledgeable about their area. 

    We have had a number of discussions about change on this site. I would suggest that the biggest area for change is the arrogant superiority, which many privileged citizens display.  You mention that the person clearly did not know enough even to make constructive comment.  That is my regular experience of people who criticise without even the slightest knowledge of the depth of previous philosophical and policy discussion, and local and international research that informs what is being implemented.

    While recognising that ordinary citizens engaged in workplaces are not always sophisticated communicators, in the area of education and training I would suggest that one does have the right to expect mature and respectful communication – with everyone including government officials – without this one wonders how learners are treated.   

    Hannes Nel

    I am glad that you agree. Then again, that’s how it should be if we are to show the world that the rainbow nation can work and that being “rainbow” can actually be an asset. JPN


    APPETD has had similar positive experiences in discussions with Dr. Buthelezi.  Our CEO, Cynthia Reynders, says that another meeting with private FET providers is scheduled for mid-January 2013. Rick Edmonds, Chair, HE Chamber


    Hi Hannes. Thanks for your summary. I also attended and agree with you regarding some inappropriate behaviour or attitude from some providers. I also agree that Dr Buthelezi always deals with whatever comes his way in a very professional and rational manner.

    I work for one of the biggest private education groups, so naturally we take more time to analyse changes in the environment and therefore take more time to act. In the case of the Joint Communique (which affects 4 of our colleges), we are very worried about the legality of the document. If you recall, I asked Dr Buthelezi a question about the legal status of the document. My argument goes as follows: (1) We really want to stay within the law. (2) The current FET Collegs Act and the FET Regulations have been used to urge/force/kindly request that FET providers (also providers who only offer SETA qualifications) register with the Department since 2008. (3) The Act and the Regulations have not changed. (4) The Department is now using the same Act and Regulations to say you don’t have to register with them if you offer only SETA/QCTO qualifications.

    Surely, any administrative change needs to conform to current legislation, and the Joint Communique may not fall within the current Regulations. The Regulations are very clear: if you want to offer any Level 2 to 4 qualification on the NQF you have to be registered with the State. So one could argue that the Joint Communique is asking providers to act outside the current legal framework. Dr Buthelezi answered my question by saying that the Regulations state that you have to register with the Department if you offer Level 2 to 4 qualifications AND if those qualifications are quality assured by Umalusi. This is most definitely not the case, as Umalusi’s role as the quality assurance body of all FET is presented in the Regulations. So if the Department wants the QCTO to now fulfill the role that Umalusi has fulfilled for SETA qualifications, then the FET Colleges Act and the FET Regulations must first change, plus the Skills Development Act must then outline the quality assurance and registration “intermediary” role of the QCTO – similar to that of Umalusi.

    That’s my opinion, and it surely is common sense that a 180 degree turnaround from everyone-must-register to some-providers-don’t-have-to-register must be accompanied by a legislative change, rather than an administrative agreement. Our issue is not that we don’t agree with the intention of the Department – we agree that the QCTO should fulfill a similar role for its qualifications to that fulfilled by the CHE and Umalusi for their qualifications on their sub-frameworks. But then the legal framework must be amended before any major instruction of deregistration can be made, or Umalusi must sign a formal MOU with the QCTO to take on some of its functions (which isn’t in place, as far as we know).  And if we are proved wrong regarding the legal interpretation and that we may have been over-cautious, then we’ll be happy to go along if acting on the Joint Communique won’t make us move into a (de-)registration position that may be in contravention of the Regulations.

    In an environment where personal interpretations of the Regulations are made every day, I suggest before any provider makes a decision regarding deregistration to get some formal opinion on the matter. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law, even with the best intentions in mind. Maybe the Legal Committee of APPETD can help here.




Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 30 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Share on Social Media

One thought on “Feedback on urgent meeting for Private FET Colleges by the DHET

  • Bernadette Perumal


    Finally someone , has the guts to stand up. Truth be told, comrade Blade does not have a clue as to what skills development is and what community development is all  about. He needs to take a walk and see who the real service delivery foot soldiers are. Dr.  Ivor is definitely the man to watch. He is definitely  not a monkey see, monkey do pleasing person. Well done SSeta. This is democracy in its true form. Not communistic pardon my pun. Its not about I , me and myself. Its about education and development. Well done, Dr. Blumenthal/ We the committed education and development practitioners salute you. As our president said. We must stand up for what we believe in. You have the support from SADEPA AND ITS 8645 MEMBERS

Comments are closed.