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Plans to upgrade colleges to university status shelved

PLANS of upgrading both the Ngwane Teacher’s Training and William Pitcher Teacher’s Training Colleges to university status has since been halted.

It is believed a cabinet decision has since been taken to put to a halt in these processes that would which means that both colleges will not be ‘swallowed’ by the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) for now, until all the loopholes and other requirements and expectations are met and addressed.

Programmes

There are a number of parties and stakeholders that have to be involved before this happens.

It was expected that the two institutions would start offering degree courses from this year and it had already been in the public domains that such programmes would be regulated by the University of Swaziland.

No clear explanation has been given as to what has led to the decision to put on hold such a move and this news will be received with disappointment in many quarters, including aspiring students who were nursing hope of being admitted at both colleges this year.

However, investigations found that the latest decision has been necessitated by a number of things, including issues that had to be handled by different authorities.

Inspector

 It has since been communicated to these two higher learning institutions that the new programmes that were earmarked to start this year were no longer going to.

A source at Ngwane Teacher’s Training College explained that last month the chief inspector of colleges, Peterson Dlamini, arrived at Ngwane where he met with some of the stakeholders and dropped the bombshell.

Lecturers and teachers from the neighbouring Ngwane Practising Primary, considered to be the college’s wing as well as other support staff, were addressed by Dlamini on the latest development. The news that Dlamini had brought left a sour taste in the mouths of many who were present.

Matter

 “We were called to the hall where Dlamini arrived to address us regarding the matter. Some of us were already nursing hopes that since we are to be regarded a UNISWA wing, that would also improve our salary notches as lecturers and as teachers at the nearby primary school. There were many explanations given as to why such a decision was taken,” said one of the sources.

“We are however consoled that we are not the only college affected by the new development as even William Pitcher has been affected as well,” said another source.

It is said while this decision was taken some time back, there were still many who thought the programme was still on and this is despite that admission for enrolment is next month.

Training

“We were left shocked and at first we thought that it could be as a result of the ongoing debacle involving the college and the Ngwane Practicing school next door,” said one of the sources. Some said it was a cabinet decision that such programmes should wait for now.  

Meanwhile, the chief inspector of colleges Peterson Dlamini, confirmed visiting Ngwane Teacher’s Training College not so long ago but could not state the reasons for the visit.

 “For further explanations, I think the right person to talk to is government spokesperson (Percy Simelane) as it is a matter that now involves government,” said Dlamini.

Simelanes mobile phone rang unanswered, later returned our call but the line was so poor.

On the other hand, Minister of Education Phineus Magagula could also not be reached for comment regarding the latest development as his cellphone rang  without being answered.

UNISWA Vice Chancellor Professor Cisco Magagula when called hinted that chances were almost zero that the two institutions were to have these new programmes introduced this year. He however stated that it was better that comments be sourced from either the government spokesperson or the minister of education if not the principal secretary.

Other reports are that while indicators show that it was quite unlikely for the programmes to be introduced anytime soon in these colleges, there were still talks involving all relevant authorities to have such programmes starting next year.

“Right now, this issue is with cabinet and it is the one to give  a clear direction. It’s however not a secret that there are going to be no degrees offered this year in these two institutions. Depending on the outcome of the talks involving cabinet and other authorities, chances are that we may need to wait until next year to be sure that it is possible to start such programmes.

 “There is a lot that is involved and it is not as simple as others may think to have these two institutions upgraded to the university status,” one of those close to the matter explained.

 

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