Minister promises college

Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor receives a gift of thanks from Mitchell's Plain Education Forum chairperson Colleen Daniels.

Naledi Pandor, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, has committed to building a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) college in Mitchell’s Plain.

She was the keynote speaker at a career and skills development expo hosted by the Mitchell’s Plain Skills Centre and the Mitchell’s Plain Education Forum at Rocklands civic centre on Saturday June 9.

The MPEF was conceptualised in 2010 at an education summit which was held at Glendale High School in Rocklands and chaired by former Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Marius Fransman and former Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel.

The skills centre, in Westridge, is one of the forum’s initiatives, which was established as a non-profit company in 2010.

Frank Fredericks, chairperson of the centre, said fundamental to economic progress was the promotion of and access to quality education and skills development among all levels of society, in the broader Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha areas.

Ms Pandor said she had had discussions with Karin Hendricks, acting principal of False Bay College, many years ago to have a TVET college in Mitchell’s Plain.

“I’ve been shown a list for a few more TVET colleges by my new department. I didn’t see Mitchell’s Plain on the list but I am going to scratch out one and I am going to put in Mitchell’s Plain,” she said.

She has only held this cabinet position since President Cyril Ramaphosa moved Ms Pandor from being Minister of Science and Technology to Minister of Higher Education, in February. She holds Master’s degrees in Education (University of London) and Linguistics (University of Stellenbosch).

“I think this is a community that is large enough for us to ensure it has quality educational institutions. We have to bring educational opportunity closer to our people and establish very, very good quality teaching and learning institutions that give our young people a different set of opportunities that they never enjoyed before,” she said.

Ms Pandor said having the college in Mitchell’s Plain would be like a homecoming because the practitioners live in the community.

“When we build this institution, we will draw on the skills available here because those artisans, they live right here. They can help us to make practical programmes available to young people,” she said.

Ms Pandor said a new unity of purpose should be created in government, non-government and community-based organisations coming together to build a holistic education model.

“Let us try to construct a TVET college that would draw in the Mitchell’s Plain Skills Centre, the Mitchell’s Plain Education Forum to make up the education and skills centre in Mitchell’s Plain,” she said.

Ms Pandor said she would be working in Mitchell’s Plain at the ANC constituency office in Westridge, allowing her to give regular reports to the community.

Ms Hendricks said talks of having a TVET college in Mitchell’s Plain have been coming along for 14 years. “Mitchell’s Plain needs a TVET college in the heart of Mitchell’s Plain. We have 5 000 students travelling out of Mitchell’s Plain every day at great expense,” she said.

Ms Hendricks said the mandate was very clear. “We have to develop young people in terms of critical and scarce skills and draw on that to remind the minister of that mandate,” she said.

She said the building of the college required a commitment from the TVET college and the City of Cape Town. “We are looking for land in Mitchell’s Plain, an unused school and that is the commitment we would like to see fulfilled.

“We see a state-of-the-art campus. We’ve already got the architectural designs. We’ve identified possible sites. We’ve been negotiating with a number of role-players, within local and provincial government,” she said.

“It takes time but we never relented on that. We believe the campus will be realised in the next year,” she said.

Mitchell’s Plain Education Forum chairperson, Colleen Daniels, told the Plainsman they would hold the minister accountable.

“We are engaging with her, to make sure that the statement becomes a reality for the people of Mitchell’s Plain, especially the youth.”

Ms Daniels said Ms Pandor also said the youth should be engaged in discussions to establish what their needs were.

“This will be something the MPEF will engage in as well,” she said.