As the academic year came to a close, Gauteng’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges appeared abandoned last Wednesday.
At the Central Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni East TVET colleges, students had already gone home after their exams, but a few were there to submit their outstanding documents.
Security guards and college officials told City Press that the students’ last day was November 30, and only staff who were marking exam papers were on site.
But one student, Jessica Mukwevho, was at the Central Johannesburg TVET College. In first year, and studying towards her mechanical engineering qualification, she said she did not regret taking the TVET route. The only downside, she said, was that some of her lecturers did not pitch up to classes.
“Lecturers differ. Some are poorer than others. Our studies also get affected by strikes, and the fact that other lecturers do not come to class. But I don’t regret choosing this college. I would also recommend it to matriculants,” she said. (The college could not be reached for comment on the claim that some lecturers did not pitch up to classes.)
Mukwevho said she qualified to go to university but opted instead to study at a TVET college. Hers is a two-year course.
“I prefer being here than spending many years at a university. Studies are much easier here than at university and I will get experience and find a job more easily too, because the college has partnerships with private companies,” she said.
Mukwevho’s studies are being funded by a Gauteng City Region Academy bursary – provided by the Gauteng department of education.
Our studies also get affected by strikes, and the fact that other lecturers do not come to class. But I don’t regret choosing this college.
TVET student Jessica Mukwevho
Another student on campus was Lubabalo Tshitshi, a final year student also studying mechanical engineering at Central Johannesburg College. He said the quality of lecturers differed from subject to subject, but he was satisfied with the teaching he had received at the college.
His parents pay for his education because they are government employees.
“There is no way I could have cheated the system,” Tshitshi said.
He opted for the college because he did not qualify to study engineering at university level.
“I didn’t want to do something that I was not going to enjoy. Studying engineering here is going to benefit me. I will get a job and prosper,” he said, adding that he would advise matriculants to consider the college.
Meanwhile, at Ekurhuleni East TVET College, Johannes Sello is in the final year of his information and communication technology (ICT) qualification. He said he had not experienced any problems at the institution.
“The college provided me with all the resources I needed to learn and excel. Lecturers were hands-on and would go the extra mile to assist me. I’m in the process of acquiring learnerships or an internship and the college is going to assist me with that as it has partnerships with companies,” he said.
Sello said he opted for a TVET college because he felt he needed to go through the foundation phase of ICT first.
“I don’t think I will go to a university now but will acquire additional certificates. I think that’s the easy way,” he said.
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme paid for his studies. He said he would also recommend the college to matriculants.
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