Social media upends NSFAS communication on legacy qualification funding

Front Page Looking For… Post-school Education & Training – including TVET Social media upends NSFAS communication on legacy qualification funding

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    sylvia hammond

    Skills-universe is technically “social media”, but with a difference.

    How? Skills-universe members are mainly in the same domain, speaking in acronyms, and understanding each other.

    And why does it matter?
    In the “old” days, the world of journalism was a controlled domain – not just the propaganda and censorship of the apartheid era, but internationally. Press releases were issued to specific audiences, in different ways.

    Now everything is everywhere.

    So whereas in the past maybe a few journalists arrived at Parliament to hear what was being said (e.g. I attended some meetings of the Higher Education & Training Portfolio Committee, but it’s possible to follow with Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG)).

    Now, our President speaks to the nation online, on YouTube, on Facebook, njalo njalo.

    (Here I stop to say RIP Jackson Mthembu – I miss you dearly.)

    Back to my point. NSFAS
    The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), was intending to be proactive, to prevent colleges and higher education institutions signing up students, who would not be able to receive NSFAS funding.

    It caused a Twitter & Facebook storm (I’m not sure if it reached Tic Toc), and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) interviewed NSFAS CEO Andile Nonganga to clarify.

    That raised a confusion for me – the CEO mentioned Minister Nzimande publishing a Government Gazette (GG) in 2006 with the list of qualifications falling away. That date cannot be correct, because the Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) was only created in July 2009, and that is when Minister Nzimande commenced in DHET.

    I can only identify the GG 38490 February 2015 listing Occupational Qualifications Sub Framework (OQSF) qualifications inder the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) falling away – I’ve attached.
    Please can members help me here. Do you have additional relevant documents?

    Why is all this important?
    Because the audience is now the nation, and although the nation will understand the word legacy, they will probably not have an understanding of the connotations are of: a “legacy” qualification in the education and training world.

    Skills-universe members will probably understand. If not, they will ask Lynel Farrell in the “LynelFarrellresponds” group, and get a detailed response.

    This is a similar situation to my criticism of the QCTO release – intended for parents of potential students. Also equally being proactive – but open to massive misunderstanding.

    My conclusion.
    There is no longer any such thing as a controlled media release, or a state inter-departmental/institutional release.

    We know that the education and training landscape is highly complex, and constantly changing – sometimes confusing even the most experienced of practitioners.

    Therefore, my suggestion to institutions – even if the document is intended for Sector Education & Training Authorities (SETAs) only, or higher education colleges only, or Technical Vocational Education & Training (TVET) colleges only, njalo njalo, the very first sentence – up front – up top – should explain the context.

    So, as an example for the NSFAS document about programmes not being funded:

    This communication refers to the legacy qualifications, as detailed by Minister Nzimande in the Government Gazette Number Dated – See attached.
    Maybe also include a definition of “legacy qualification”

    For students already registered on these qualifications, and continuing, they will continue to be funded until they complete.
    However, to all providers, please remember not to register new students for these programmes that are falling away. Please provide potential students with the advice:
    These are the replacement qualifications, this is the replacement qualification for the qualification you are asking for: …

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