Supported by the South African Department of Higher Education and Learning, approved by the South African Bureau of Standards and situated in and around Durban, KwaZulu Natal, Elangeni TVET College is a Technical and Vocational Education and Training institute which provides higher education learning. The TVET College offers full-time, part-time and long distance learning with a range of programmes from eight campuses and provides bursary programmes, including the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the DHET Financial Aid Scheme and other financial support services.
With eight campuses in and around Durban, please outline the focus areas of Elangeni TVET and the courses you offer.
In Durban and outer lying regions, Elangeni TVET College provides students with Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Support is given to lifelong learning at Elangeni TVET College and students are taught by professional assessors and moderators to ensure quality delivery in a range of subject areas. The programs offered are tailored to the needs of learners and industry and are adaptive. A TVET vocational program equips students for a competitive industry career that requires practical skills, experience and expertise to be implemented.
TVET colleges are seen as key to the recovery of the South African economy. Please comment on this statement.
TVET Colleges in nature are strategically positioned within townships and semi-rural areas to provide South Africans with better access to communities and prepare them for skill related work post schooling education. In townships there are always a number of things to be repaired and as a result, students that are trained and skilled at TVET Colleges are able to assist in restoration and repairing jobs found within the community, building up the economy from a grassroots level. That is why the Government should look at TVET colleges as agents of development, particularly in times of economic recession.
As Principal/Rector of Elangeni TVET College, what have been some of your major successes thus far?
Since my inception at the College I have always advocated the need for change as that promotes growth. By introducing the College Staff Awards, my aim is to provide recognition to staff in their areas of excellence. I also introduced College Sports Day to integrate wellness and sporting development of staff at the ETVET.
One of my recent successes thus far was the achievement of a Clean Audit Outcome for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019 at the College. It took a lot of hard work, focused determination and dedication to achieve a clean audit but I was lucky enough to have a dynamic competent team that reinforced my passion to lead a clean administration.
As Rector of ETVET, I have developed and received a number of corresponding partners such as the NUFFIC program and the Community College Initiative (CCI) Programme responsible for exchange programs where our students and staff have travelled to the Netherlands, UK and China for educational purposes.
I have also developed and established the Business unit as a second wing funding mode for the College and to date it has received a number of programs from different SETAs.
How did you conquer your biggest hurdles?
As the Institution’s leader, I face obstacles every day. My convictions, morals and values are the trick to overcome hurdles. First, I remain positive in dealing with matters, small or big, and that helps me in achieving greatness in the end. Those that know me, know me as an achiever. In order to make progress, I prefer to divide the targets into smaller achievable steps. Every day, whether professional or individual, I work to achieve objectives. I remain focused on the end goal in order to conquer hurdles. I do not permit anything negative to clutter my mind or space. It makes it easy to communicate with people from every area of life, as I am level-headed, calm and humble. I am able to navigate difficult waters through this quality and still keep my head above water, with a smile of course!
COVID-19 presented the world with unforeseen and unexpected challenges. How did you manage the response of the college to the pandemic, and has there been a significant increase in the number of on-line applications?
In spite of COVID-19, the Higher Education sector will never be the same again. To successfully move forward during COVID-19, as the Rector of the College I was tasked with implementing the College’s main ideas of crisis management and innovation to realise our aim of sustainable teaching and learning. Allow me to say that Elangeni TVET College protected its staff and students through compliance. As an Institution, we complied with all health and safety regulations to minimise the infection rate of COVID-19. Having healthcare workers on site acting as the first point of entry in detecting symptoms of COVID-19 assisted in decreasing the risk of any staff and students from contracting the virus. Despite the pandemic, Higher Education remained my top priority and I did my best to ensure that its core function of teaching and learning was achieved. With the support of the Institution, the College was able to make great advances during COVID-19 in terms of adapting to the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). As a result, an online registration system was used and the College received a resounding 30 000 applications from students wanting to join ETVET.
How important are partnerships to Elangeni TVET?
Elangeni TVET College believes that close partnerships between itself and employers plays a significant role in locating opportunities for work-integrated learning (WIL). The College views partnerships to be central to increased student placement and College-to work transitions. International partnerships with the British Council have allowed staff to visit the UK to share and adopt leadership and management practices. The College also established a partnership with the US Embassy CCI exchange programme and NUFFIC, whereby students and staff have visited the USA and Netherlands to develop knowledge and insight in the agricultural sector. These partnerships assist students with in-service training that enables them to complete their qualifications and graduate at the end of their programme. Partnerships have enabled the College to put together a responsive Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) that meets the varied needs of students, communities and surrounding industries.
What exciting plans do you have for college in 2021?
To effectively roll out online teaching and learning at Elangeni TVET College. Lecturers have grasped the methodology of the new normal due to COVID-19. They are capacitated and qualified but are not trained for online teaching and learning. The College has partnered with UNISA to roll out this programme. Going forward, a qualified lecturer is an empowered lecturer and that lecturer then has the capacity to empower students.
Reconstruction of KwaMashu Campus – For many years, the College has shared space with the high school in KwaMashu. However due to logistics, it is now time for the Campus to be re-homed and developed.
I have been involved in developing a mini farm at the College’s Mpumalanga Campus to produce poultry and eggs and we are now moving towards a formal market for the College funding mode. The community-based cleaning project that I started in line with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) will also continue this year at all sites.
Who are your favourite authors, and what are you reading at the moment?
I am an avid reader but Chinua Achebe has to be my favourite author. The book taught me about different cultures and how patriarchy had been orchestrated through culture. I also learnt about the shift from culture to civilization and damaging this shift was to the people who believed in it. It also narrated a story about a great man by the name of Okonkwo who rose with his beliefs to his society but because of those cultural beliefs he ended up as the title says, falling apart.
What message do you have for people out there struggling to survive?
There is a quote by: unknown author that says, “Do not let your struggle become your identity.” I want to inspire anyone who struggles to gain a positive mentality. During every storm they should be inspired and they should always try to find something good even though it is difficult. Never give up believing in yourself. A person’s belief is one of life’s main pillars. What we think shapes who we are. To establish survival during a challenging time, one must assume that the season will pass and that you are destined to do more with your life in future.
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