Over 100,000 young people who have qualified in a variety of technical and other areas, some from as far back as 2007, have still not received their official certificates from the Department of Higher Education and Training as a result of a failure of government IT structures.
This was revealed when the Department of Higher Education and Training was grilled by the Portfolio Committee yesterday on its multiple difficulties in managing the College sector.
The Department has failed to resolve the backlog of certificates in technical and other skills which has plagued FETTVET Colleges for the past eight years, and which has blocked many young, qualified South Africans from entering the job market.
The Department has made slight progress in reducing the backlog from the staggering 162,884 reported in reply to a DA parliamentary question in February this year. However the Director-General, Mr Gwebs Qonde, was unable to provide the Committee with a timeline or specific plan for ensuring that tens of thousands of College graduates actually obtained the official documentation to which they were entitled.
Furthermore, while the Department claimed that these graduates were able to obtain a letter of proof of their qualification on request, employers or other tertiary institutions are unlikely to accept such letters repeatedly, while many students are probably entirely unaware that such a letter can be requested.
This situation has serious implications for the employment and further education prospects of thousands of young people at a time of severe unemployment and economic stagnation.
The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) was identified by the Department and by the quality assurance body ultimately responsible for College certification – Umalusi – as the main stumbling block, and has been summoned to the Portfolio Committee to present a plan for the elimination of the backlog.
The DA welcomes this step towards solving this colossal failure by government, and will ensure we obtain answers from SITA when they appear before Committee.
We must offer the people of South Africa freedom in the economy and opportunity in the job market. Without these certificates, this is not possible.
Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training
Source : Democratic Alliance