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College principal apologises

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Some lecturers were hit by rocks and empty beer bottles as they were trying to make their way into the city campus

ABOVE: Northern Cape TVET College principal Brian Madalane during a press conference yesterday. Picture: Soraya Crowie

CLASSES at the Northern Cape Urban TVET College are expected to resume today after the principal apologised for notices that were apparently sent out mistakenly, announcing the discontinuation of a number of courses as from the 2019 academic year.

Students at the Phatsimang and Moremogolo campuses did not wish to listen to management after demanding that the principal address them yesterday.

“We are offended … this may not be resolved peacefully. The shutdown will continue unless we see a public, written retraction and apology in black and white.”

City campus students yesterday set a wooden bench alight at the entrance and blocked the gates, while they hurled plastic bottles, broomsticks and milk cartons at the media.

They would not allow anyone else to speak to them other than the principal.

Some lecturers were hit by rocks and empty beer bottles as they were trying to make their way into the city campus.

The closing date for registrations was yesterday.

Northern Cape Urban TVET College principal Brian Madalane profusely apologised for the “misunderstanding” created when the notices regarding the withdrawal of classes appeared on the college website and in the media.

“I apologise for any inconvenience caused as well as the delays in writing of tests.”

He stated that there was never any intention to suspend these courses.

“The notices were published without my knowledge. When I spotted the mistake, we immediately corrected it.”

Madalane advised that the internal assessments would be rescheduled while the deadline for registrations would be extended as campuses had been closed on Friday and yesterday due to protest action.

Madalane said that he was unable to address students on Friday as he was attending a college graduation and awards ceremony in Bloemfontein.

He explained that management needed to improve some of the modes of teaching.

“Students were not being given textbooks for correspondence courses and that needs to be corrected. Only a few students were registered for exam-only courses. There was no guarantee that students would pass as they had failed when they were studying full time.”

He added that students fresh out of matric were attending part-time classes that started at 4.30pm.

“This creates an environment that is conducive towards cultivating social ills. Anything can happen to these students before they attend classes and it makes parents worry when their children are returning home at night.”

Madalane stated that they were only informed that lecturers were apparently not delivering after students had failed.

“We have advised students that it is their responsibility to immediately report to the student representative council, senior lecturers, the HOD and campus manager if no lectures are being held. If the problem persists they are welcome to contact me at my office.”

He also assured students that they would not be targeted for staging protest action.

“There were no incidents of violence. A tyre and wooden bench was burnt outside the city campus, to take out their stress.”

He, however, warned students not to damage or vandalise infrastructure out of anger as it would be costly to replace.

Madalane indicated that he wished to improve the pass rate as it was currently “not that bad and not that good”.

“Marketing is enhanced by performance. Students must not assume that by coming here they will fail. We will be revisiting the types of courses offered at the college and introducing new subjects that are conducive to growing the economy and creating work opportunities such as entrepreneurship, journalism, farming and IT. We aim to make the Northern Cape TVET College the flagship in engineering studies because we have the necessary resources. We are in negotiations to form partnerships with the Central University of Technology, Motheo College in the Free State, other colleges and universities. Students must be involved in games, sporting activities, recreational programmes and soccer teams that can represent the Province.”

Madalane stated that regular engagements would take place with the SRC in the future.

He believed that NSFAS payments would now proceed more efficiently since a new administrator had been appointed.

Deputy principal of academics, Ayanda Mhlauli, encouraged students to return to classes today.

“Our doors will be open for learning and teaching. Posters will be placed on the notice boards today to advise that full time, part time, correspondence, exam only and repeaters and supplementary exams will still be offered in 2019.”