Student Mechanics Cry Foul Over Revoked Funding

OVER 50 student mechanics at the Industrial Craft Training Institute (ICTI) are crying foul over the Namibia Training Authority’s (NTA)’s abrupt decision to cease funding for their training.

Second Level trainees, who are majoring in Auto Mechanics and other specialities at the institute were formally notified by the NTA that they are no longer eligible to receive funding by the training authority after a year’s sponsorship. “It would have been wise for the NTA to inform us of their decision before we begin training, not in the middle of the training when we have already come this far,” lamented ICTI trainee Ebson Tjizoo. Trainees also argue that the training body’s decision was not communicated to them early enough, saying they are now left to fork out more than N$2 000 per month in tuition fees on their own with two more years to complete the training. They also say they now have no other option but to abandon their training as they cannot afford funding themselves, citing that they hail from marginalised and previously disaantaged communities.

Students were further informed that another assessment will have to be performed on them by the NTA, despite the fact that they already passed their assessment last year through the ICTI, an exercise that will again cost them an extra N$450 each.

NTA’s spokesperson Morne Louw was quick to point out that NTA had only contractually agreed to fund 10 student mechanics on Level 2. He said NTA has entered two separate service level agreements with the ICTI in August and October 2013, under which it is to fund 42 trainees on Level 1 and 10 trainees on Level 2 in auto mechanics.

“Under the provisions of the two agreements, the NTA is to disburse funds to the ICTI, upon this institution reaching pre-agreed milestones at specific training service delivery performance intervals,” he explained. Louw went on to explain that based on milestone reports submitted by the ICTI and subsequent visits to the institution by NTA compliance auditors, the NTA felt the institution was not living up to some of the expectations of the service level agreements, as it failed to implement key components and unit standards of the training curriculum.

“Towards finding a lasting solution, the NTA and the ICTI have agreed that the latter urgently addresses the concerns and shortcomings identified and highlighted in the aforementioned milestone and audit reports.The NTA has taken note of progress made and commitments undertaken by the ICTI in this regard,” he said.

Louw said that the NTA has decided to release a further batch of funds as per the service level agreements to solve the impasse and allow training at the ICTI to continue, upon the submission of a detailed assessment outcome report by the ICTI.

“The NTA is ready to assess all trainees at the institution upon completion of all outstanding training componentsunit standards as per the Competency-Based Education and Training curriculum.

Following assessment, the NTA is to issue national vocational certificates to all successful candidates.

Source : The Namibian