1. Over the years education system in our beloved province has been faced with numerous challenges and all governments of the day have dismally failed to address them to the satisfaction of the people of the province. Form Basic to Higher Education, the situation seems to worsen day by day. Scholarship transport, school nutrition, unpaid educator salaries, retrenchment of long serving temporary educators and other matters that are still clouding the EC department and have not been properly addressed despite the department having been taken over by the national Department of Basic Education. Maladministration, Corruption, and managerial incapacity are some of the issues facing our embattled province across all departments.
2. ON HIGHER AND TRAINING, let us shift focus on WSU a little and look at the state of our FET COLLEGES. Almost all of the FET colleges in our province are under administration. An Administrator is appointed in terms of the law governing the FET sector i.e. FET college Act of 2012 as amended to take over power where there are proven instances of incapacity, for instance general managerial weaknesses, weak financial control systems resulting in high levels of corruption, weak HRM systems, failing general administration of the institution and so on. One wonders if this is working, because with the administrators in place there are still continuous unrests in the sector from Nelson Mandela Metro to Mbizana.
3. Students barely get adequate academic support material, Work-based Exposure, and practical in most of these FET colleges particularly those situated in rural settlements. This is indeed a perturbing factor to us EFF as we understand that when these fundamental services are not adequately provided quality and credibility of such qualification is compromised and employability of such graduates is hanging in the balance. Are we in the process of producing another bunch of unemployable and redundant graduates again? Surely as Economic Freedom Fighters we cannot associate ourselves with this nonsense.
4. Under qualification of lecturing and management staff across these FETs is a dominant factor and this has been going on ever since their inception yet there are a number of unemployed African Children sitting at home with their qualifications.
5. ON HIGHER EDUCATION SECTOR, WSU FOCUS: the current state affairs at Walter Sisulu University are hampering any development and transformation that institution ought to undergo. The institution itself is under administration after the process of independent assessment led by Prof Dan Ncayiyana pinpointed on number of irregularities on the management of the affairs of WSU and subsequently recommended that such institution should be placed under administration.
6. When Prof Van Staden was subsequently appointed to take over leadership of WSU, many raised questions about his ability to take up the institution to the desired condition. These questions were levelled against him because his appointment followed his failure as a DP in TUT which was also placed under administration. Having observed occurrences at WSU during his regime one may safely say those questions were indeed correct because until now the situation has not improved.
7. The labour unions have now embarked on a mass protest demanding salary increases and as a result teaching and learning has been at halt for a month now. Students are unfortunately going to be at the harsh receiving end of the situation. However as economic freedom fighters we cannot contest the call for decent salary for the hard working brothers and sisters in that institution.
8. We are appalled by the level of seriousness with which minister Blade Ndzimande takes WSU as an institution. On numerous occasions when either students or staff members are on a mass action demanding what rightfully belongs to them and calls made for his speedy intervention he never does, but when there are gala dinners in some FET colleges in Gauteng you always see him wearing suits and enjoying coffee and biscuits there.
9. Our founding manifesto explicitly outlines our belief in the power of education in the liberating of the marginalised masses of our people and we cannot continue to be silent while these calamitous situations prevail at our watch. Economic emancipation of the people of the province remains rather rhetoric if our government continues to undermine investment on human capital development. All successful economies in the world have prioritised education in POLICY and PRACTICE and seemingly Mr Makhupula, Dr Ndzimande and Mr Zuma do not take this seriously.
10. We call on all people of the province to unite and make joint calls for a government that understands their plight and who is willing the really prioritise education of their children. We call on all people of the province to make a joint call for a speedy resolution of issues at WSU and for a process through which the academic time lost by students will recovered.
Issued by Economic Freedom Fighters, Eastern Cape
Enquires may be directed to:
Fighter Simcelile Rubela (PCT commissar for Education & Training)
Facebook: Simcelile Julius Rubela
Tiwitter: Simcelile @juju_bzn