Hlomelang: Official Online Publication of the ANCYL
ANCYL Constitution: as amended and adopted by the 25th National Congress September 2015
Hlomelang: Vol. 13 No. 1: 25 July  07 August 2016
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Cape Town, 2 September 1998

1.0 Introduction

1.1 ANC Youth League welcomes the release and subsequent discussion on the FET bill by the Minister of Education because:

  • the RDP regards further education and training as one of the key sectors needed to constitute an integrated human resource development programme;
  • this will address the problems faced by young people with regards to unemployment, poverty, difficulty in accessing the labour market as a result of lack of relevant technical skills, and others;
  • among others, this will organise, transform, co-ordinate and regulate the further education and training band which lacks behind the secondary and higher education sectors in this regard;
  • accordingly, this will enhance the process of realising consistency at policy level because FET will, for the first time, become one band around which a whole range of the first time, become one band around which a whole range of interventions can be presented regarding training and others;
  • it draws on the philosophy of the new SA of consultation and central involvement of all stake-holders in the process, and has not lost the vision of a people-centred and people-driven vision in its approach.

1.2 However, we wish to state that we are rather perturbed by the release of the bill, and the subsequent discussions on it, before the White Paper has been released. We believe, therefore, that this process has been skewed because the White Paper must lay the broad policy framework for the bill.

1.3 The ANCYL wishes to state it clearly that the transformation of education in South Africa is a shared responsibility of the government and civil society.

1.4 Whilst we generally aggress with the thrust of the document, we, however, wish to make further proposals.

2.0 Purposes and Principles

2.1 Purposes of Further Education and Training

2.1.1 FET must provide "education and training experiences which follow compulsory general education or its equivalent and culminate in the National Higher Certificate" (RDP Base document).

2.1.2 It must "provide school

2.1.2 It must "provide schooling, training and adult education as an integrated system" (RDP Base document).

2.1.3 Accordingly, FET seeks to contribute to national development through the advancement of knowledge and skills.

2.1.4 It must create an active, responsible, independent, critical, informed and productive citizenry that is able to participate fully in the life of their communities and nation as a whole.

2.1.5 It must seek to develop and empower the historically disadvantaged people, particularly the youth. An increased emphasis must be placed on the currently out-of-school youth who constitute 28% of society, and whose needs, consequently, are urgent.

2.2 Principles

2.2.1 The central principles that should guide FET are those of non-racialism, non-sexism, democracy and unity. This will require a strong commitment to addressing the racial and social disparities of the past, and accordingly a commitment to promoting these principles through substantive policies on gender equities, affirmative action and institutional culture. Among those particularly favoured must be the rural and physically disabled learners. Ct be the rural and physically disabled learners. Consequently, this must find expression in terms of access and redress.

2.2.2 Education and training must include and be specified to youth, particularly the out-of-school youth.

2.2.3 Resources should be invested in this sector through such instruments as the budget to achieve redress, access and transformation. The private sector must also be mobilised for this objective.

2.2.4 The rights, particularly of learners, must be acknowledged and an environment for their realisation be created. Among others, this requires effective learner support and development programmes designed to enable learners cope with a variety of needs; and the recognition that learners are equal partners in FET institutions like all other stake-holders.

2.2.5 This area of study must be linked to skills development and must achieve the articulation between it, the workplace and further progression. We believe that FET must not only serve as an exit point to the labour market, but must also provide entry points for young people who wish to return to the formal education system, and thereby providing the key access to the higher education system.

2.2.6 This must become a shared and common responsibility and common responsibility between learners, educators, management, and the community.

3.0 Further Comments

3.1 General Comments

3.1.1 The objects of the bill must be placed at the front of the bill so that they provide a clear guide to the contents of the bill.

3.1.2 The bill must create a linkage and articulation between FET and general education (S.A. Schools Act), higher education and other education and training policies. "A balanced and flexible curriculum leading to the National Higher Certificate must be developed for all learners in a variety of learning contexts: students learning with formal institutions, workers in industry, out-of-school youth, and adults learning in community learning centres. The curriculum must seek to open the learning paths consistent with the goals of lifelong learning" (RDP Base document).

3.1.3 The bill must be more stronger on the questions of redress and equity.

3.1.4 The role of the state also needs an increased focus, especially with regards to such matters as institutional transformation. The Minister and MECs must have a clear interventionist role precisely because this sector has long been a Cinderelprecisely because this sector has long been a Cinderella in terms of both resources and policies, and hence it cannot be expected to transform itself without the state’s guidance.

3.1.5 Noting the continuing lack of clarity and hence tensions in various institutions regarding the language policy, which often results in the massive racial exclusions of black students, the councils of FET institutions, in determining the institutional language policy, must be guided by the principles of equity and redress.

3.1.6 With regards to private FET institutions, the granting of conditional registration must not depend, as the bill states, on the belief of the registrar, but on the meeting by the applicant of certain minimum standards/requirements determined by the Minister or MEC.

3.1.7 Furthermore, in the instathermore, in the instance that such institutions fail to comply with the requirements of submitting audited reports, they shall be de-registered and advised as such.

3.1.8 The bill must make reference to the determination of the curriculum of an FET institution, providing such determination shall be guided by a framework provided by the Minister or MEC, and that such a curriculum shall comply with the socio-economic and political objectives of the country as a whole (refer to 3.1.1 above).

3.1.9 The youth sector must be represented, as a matter of principle, in all national and institutional bodies such as the national board of further education and training and councils of FET institutions.

3.1.10 FET must provide the most fertile ground for integrating the national youth service programme. Furthermore, learnership and employment internship programmes must be provided as an attempt to deal with such matters as experience and youth unemployment.

3.2 Constitutional dispensation

3.2.1 Whereas the FET is an area of concurrent powers between the national Minister and MECs, the bill provides, on the role and powers of MECs for Education, that the FET is a matter of provincial competency. Accor is a matter of provincial competency. Accordingly, the national Minister’s powers and influence on such areas as resource provision, institutional governance and transformation, and programmes will be limited, particularly as it relates to provincial budgeting priorities which may not accord with the resource needs of this band.

3.2.2 This bill does not refer to the need for effective co-ordination between the national and provincial governments, nor does it suggest how this co-ordination should be achieved. Obviously, there is a need to deal with this in order to avoid problems that may result from confusion regarding roles and responsibilities of national and provincial officials., but more importantly, in order to create proper and co-ordinated approaches to challenges that will arise from this sector.

3.2.3 Related to the above, though not so much a matter of constitutional dispensation, is the issue of co-ordination with other government departments, such as Labour, providing virtually similar training.

3.3 Institutional Autonomy

3.3.1 To the extent that the bill over-emphasises institutional autonomy, while limiting the interventionist role and powers of the MEC, to that extent does it leave critical issues such as institutional transformation in the hainstitutional transformation in the hands of the individual institution, providing limited space for political intervention to facilitate institutional transformation.

3.3.2 The above likens this bill to the H.E. Act, despite the fact that the higher education model is inappropriate for this sector. South African higher education institutions demonstrate an incapacity to cope with autonomy. Similarly, the FET institutions in the UK and Australia also demonstrate the dangers of bestowing autonomy on institutions which are not ready for this – in many cases institutions collapsed or "went to the wall" and with it the public investments of many years !

3.3.3 The steering role of the state is critical, and this is supported by international evidence, such as in the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions in Australia.

3.3.4 However, precisely FET institutions are not, and should be treated like schools, some alternative systems must be explored ("management autonomy").

3.4 Funding

3.4.1 The bill provides for the Minister to develop norms and standards for funding the public FET institutions. This provides an opportunity for the Ministry to influence through funding programme areas for various institutions gramme areas for various institutions which can be earmarked funding. Yet, much of political management and resource provision of this band remains a provincial competency, meaning that the national Ministry will not, in the final analysis, influence the designing of these programmes.

3.4.2 The question of earmarked funding, appearing in the Green Paper, aimed at redress must be mentioned at length in the bill.

3.4.3 Student Financial Aid must be mentioned in a manner that develops a model for such funding, noting the untenable situation confronting the historically disadvantaged communities, which will result in many students facing financial crises.

3.5 Partnerships

3.5.1 The bill dedicates an entire chapter on the provision of private FET, and thus sends a message that partnerships are restricted to private and hence business. This, therefore, excludes the community as an important partner referred to in the Green Paper.

3.5.2 The bill is ambiguous on its definition of the "private", and thus has implications for community/youth colleges. This means that community development work undertaken within this paradigm will be done in a manner consistent only with the market forces.

3.6 The Rig

3.6 The Rights of Learners

3.6.1 Like all other stake-holders, learners are equal partners in FET institutions.

3.6.2 Whilst the bill does recognise the rights of learners to have SRCs, thereby acknowledging their rights in such matters as decision making and governance, it, however, does not comprehensively deal with the rights of learners on such principles an values as democracy, non-discrimination and equality, privacy, respect and dignity, non-violence and the security of the person, freedom of expression, a safe environment, the right to education, dispute resolution, disciplinary measures, and the need for a code of conduct in each institution to govern the relations between and conduct of stake-holders.

3.6.3 The powers given by the bill to the council to determine the nature, composition and functions of the SRC are unbecoming. This will reduce the SRCs to prefects, and take away the rights of students to decide all these matters for themselves and on their own. This, we reject with contempt and there is no use re-inventing systems and values defeated ages ago by the struggles of the students. It is just not in line with the principle and value of democracy ! Learners must determine their own constitution, which will then be ratified by the council.ill then be ratified by the council.

3.7 Governance

3.7.1 We welcome the emphasis of the bill regarding the composition of the council on racial, gender and disability lines.

3.7.2 The bill makes provision for establishment of the academic board which must determine the learning programme provided by the public FET institution. However, the bill does not, at the same time, provide scope for the government to influence this learning programme to ensure that it is consistent with the objectives of the bill. This, together with the limited role of intervention of the Minister/MEC, makes the determining of the learning programme a very loose matter.

3.7.3 In terms of disciplinary processes, the bill targets only the learner component in in learner component in institutions, thus making a presupposition that the academic staff and management will always be disciplined. Furthermore, it does not provide the right of appeal, nor does it specify the processes to be followed in case of disciplinary action. For this reason, the ANCYL suggests a Code of Conduct to govern the relations between and conduct of all stake-holders. The development of such a code of conduct must be an inclusive process, involving all stake-holders, the product of which must be a consensus document.

3.7.4 Once more, the code of conduct must be linked to the Charter of Students’ Rights in order to balance the question of discipline and the latter.

4.0 Conclusion

4.1 The ANCYL welcomes this bill, and the opportunity to comment on it, and hopes that its comments will be duly considered precisely because the majority of our constituency is out-of-school, works in industries, is learning in community/youth colleges, or would want to rejoin the formal education sector.

4.2 Furthermore, for the mere fact that the major recipients of this band will be the historically disadvantaged, the black youth and African youth in particular, those resi and African youth in particular, those residing in rural areas, are physically disabled and young women, this makes this bill of central importance to our interests which are not separate from those of the youth we are leading and representing.