MATABELELAND South youths are shunning the province’s vocational training centres (VTCs) due to the fees charged.
Speaking during the graduation and prize-giving day at Phangani VCT in lnsiza district on Friday, provincial principal for VTC Matabeleland South, Augustine Kennedy Masilela, said most youths cited fees as a major deterrent for their non-enrolment.
“Centre enrolment is rather lower than expected as the recent challenge experienced at the centre is that of fees being a serious problem,” Masilela said.
He said the fees charged are $250 per term which most youths cannot afford and as a result, the VCTs end up struggling to offset exorbitant Zesa and Zimbabwe National Water Authority bills.
“The government said we should stick to the $250, but payments made are just a drop in the ocean leaving the institution with threats of disconnections.”
He also said some of their students did not return to college to complete their courses at the end of their attachments.
“The absorption of centre graduates into formal sector creation or self employment is still low as most centre graduates fail to secure loan facilities.”
He also said the recruitment of lecturers had been affected by the freeze of posts and staff development through capacity building was critical to enhance in-service delivery.
“The centre requires a farm manager and agriculture trainer to champion full utilisation of the centre’s farm production to minimise dependence on purchased vegetable products.”
Masilela said all training disciplines had at least one lecturer to keep training delivery on board and there had been improved training delivery on disciplines that have injected new equipment to enhance quality of products.
He said there was still need to inject new and modern training equipment with information technology applications.
In a speech read on his behalf, Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Francis Nhema said they had finalised a youth empowerment facility (YEF).
He said the YEF was set up by his ministry under special arrangement with Cabs, CBZ, the Industrial Development Bank of Zimbabwe and Met Bank.
He said the YEF is a micro credit window that enables youths to access financial resources under special considerations and conditions for self-employment projects.
“This ministry in my view should engage such institutions to provide funding and assist the graduates and they will then pay back once they start their own projects,” Nhema said.
Nhema added that the graduates should be able to create their own employment through the assistance of the training for enterprise programme.
“The programme aims at reducing poverty and unemployment through the provision of technical and entrepreneurship skills for self-employment thus unproductive youth can be given skills to transform them into employment creators and sustainable livelihoods,” he said.
Nhema urged the graduates to fight against poverty and unemployment in their communities.
“Fight against poverty and other social ills and most important boarder-jumping, a common phenomenon in this region. Please recall massive deportation of Zimbabweans from our neighbours; we need you and your skills to treat laziness and poverty,” Nhema added.