/ 29 November 2011

Setas must fight corruption, says Nzimande

Setas Must Fight Corruption

Sector Education and Training Authority (Seta) chairs must act against corruption in their organisations, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday.

“Chairpersons, together with their boards, must act decisively against [transgressions including corruption] without fear or favour,” he said at a meeting with Seta board chairs in Midrand.

“I want to be open, I expect nothing less than clean governance, finish and klaar.”

Tackling corruption, accountability and accessibility of Setas would improve the public’s perception of them, which he said was “generally negative”.

Nzimande said most training colleges had their head offices in upmarket suburbs.

“[This] does contribute to the legitimate perception that such location only serves to privilege service providers over beneficiaries, and that’s the truth.”

As part of service-level agreements between his department and Setas, Nzimande said he expected the authorities to start opening offices in rural areas and townships.

Office distribution could then help graduates find work. This would mean Setas would need to share the costs associated with running these offices.

The minister also announced that a green paper on post-school education and training had been approved by Cabinet, and would be released for public approval in mid-January.

The green paper was aimed at reducing poverty and unemployment.

Further to this, there was a growing need for professionals, technicians and artisans in the green energy and nuclear power sectors to meet the needs of the government’s “urgent projects”.

Nzimande said social science graduates and social workers were also needed by the department of social development.

In order to create employable graduates, lecturers needed to work with — and teach — the latest technologies. This capacity had to be strengthened in Further Education and Training colleges.

Many colleges taught obsolete computer programs which did not equip their students for the contemporary working environments.

“Otherwise, we are training students for unemployment,” he said.

There was room for improvement in the Setas’ draft strategic plans too, as there was and “unevenness” in their systems.

Examples of this were the lack of annual performance plans and budgets created without targets.

The higher education and training department would help Setas improve service level agreements and strategic plans. Workshops with Treasury officials would also be set up to bridge these gaps, Nzimande said. — Sapa