The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) hosted the National Students Debate 2017 at the Premium ICC Hotel in East London on 30 August 2017.
In 2008 the Department introduced the Student Support Services Framework (SSSF) in an effort to streamline and integrate student support initiatives in the college curricula. The SSSF focuses on three different components that will ensure that students are provided with holistic services, namely: Pre-entry Support (Selection and Placement into appropriate programmes); On-course Support (Tutorial systems, performance monitoring, etc.) and Exit Support (Work placement and self-employment). To improve the written, oral communication and reading comprehension of the Language of Teaching and Learning (LTO), the Department introduced an annual national debate for Technical and Vocational Education & Training (TVET) College students.
Western Cape Team with Aviwe Mvoko
This debate competition was a result of many studies showing marked improvement in a wide variety of academic skills as a result of participation in such initiatives. It is hoped that this intervention will not only instil confidence in the students in communicating in the English language, but also spark their interest in reading and doing research.
All 50 TVET colleges in the country where required to send two students to represent their College and participate in the National Debate. Aviwe Mvoko and Keitumetsi Masuge represented the College of Cape Town and formed part of the Western Cape Provincial team. The team consisted of student representatives from the College of Cape Town for TVET, Boland TVET College, West Coast TVET College and Northlink TVET College.
The students were judged on various criteria consisting of students’ knowledge of the topical field and awareness of the opposing positions on the issue; information imparted and the ability to integrate evidence into a coherent and well-structured argument; unique or different styles of delivery or any notable failures to get points across; good arguments, flaws in arguments or the instances of fallacious reasoning.
The Judges panel consisted of Ms Aruna Singh (Acting Chief Director: Programmes and Qualifications, DHET), Ms Vuyokazi Mafikila (Director: Student Development and Support, DHET), Ms Nozipho Khumalo (Deputy Director: Academic Support, DHET) and Ms Nkhesani Mabunda (Chief Operations Officer, ETDPSETA).
Aviwe, who represented the College of Cape Town, stood tall and proud and said “I stand here with my team to argue robustly and fearlessly the topic of “Can the Government realistically afford to provide allowances, considering the current economic status of the country and limited bursary funds”. His argument referred to State, who created expectations in 1994 at the commencement of democracy, and the expectation and belief of the citizens of the country that everything will happen within a short space of time. He stressed the fact that the South African Government caters for over 40 departments within their budget and that each department is allocated funds which should be used wisely by each department.
Aviwe concluded his speech with a call to all students saying “We should think of other means and self-sustaining measures and refrain from being dependant on government funding.”
Mr Louis van Niekerk, Principal of the College of Cape Town for TVET, praised all the participants and congratulated Aviwe on being a true brand ambassador for the College. “We are very proud of Aviwe’s achievement, and believe that these opportunities provided to TVET students can certainly benefit the development of a well-skilled workforce to develop a sustainable economy going forward.”
Melissa Bezuidenhout, Events & media Coordinator, College of Cape Town