TUT Disability Unit benchmarks services with Tshwane North TVET College

Excel Fongoma

30 August 2023

In response to Government’s call to Higher Education Institutions to collaborate more with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Disability Unit hosted a benchmarking event at TUT’s Pretoria Campus Disability Laboratory towards the end of July.

 Devices for Disability students.

At the time of this call in 2015, Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training, said the department would like to support TVET colleges through a variety of actions.  "We want to create more articulation routes between TVET colleges and universities of technology."

TUT has since entered into alliances with around 20 TVET Colleges.

In addition, during the Higher and Further Education Disability Services Association’s (HEDSA) online Symposium in 2021, institutions were encouraged to form partnerships with TVET colleges in their geographic zones to collaborate and benchmark the services provided to students with disabilities. The collaboration between TUT and the Tshwane North TVET College’s disability sections aims to improve support services, accessibility and inclusivity for students with impairments at both institutions. This collaboration endeavours to establish a more welcoming and inclusive learning environment for students with impairments.

The benchmarking meeting was extremely productive. As much as the visitors learnt from the University, TUT’s disability practitioners also learnt a lot from ways in which the Tshwane TVET Disability Unit serves and supports its students with disabilities. In view of the importance of the relationship, the two institutions agreed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be the next step to allow the two institutions’ disability practitioners to work together. The day’s discussions were about ensuring that both institutions promote universal access, which will accommodate students with disabilities in almost all activities that take place on campus.

Dr Elikanah Lumadi Acting Campus Director at the Ga-Rankuwa Campus and the Head of SDS Ga-Rankuwa campus said: “Tshwane North TVET’s visit to benchmark with TUT’s Disability Services encouraged and inspired our own disability practitioners to do more than what we have been doing. TUT’s disability practitioners demonstrated the assistive devices used in the disability laboratory to the visitors. The processes of registering and supporting students with disabilities were also explained.”

Ivy Morulane Student Development Support Practitioner explained the purpose of the collaboration: “The goal of this collaboration is for the two institutions to work in partnership, share resources and work together to create a more inclusive, accessible and supportive educational environment for students living with disabilities.”

Ivy added: “We can have a positive impact on the academic achievement and personal development of students with disabilities by using our skills and experience as well as establishing an inclusive culture that extends beyond our institutions.”

Dr Gift Chweu Head of the Department for Student Development Support added: “We sincerely hope that our partnership will remain strong and that we will keep stay in touch through other events and engagements. This will inspire us to fulfill the Minister of Education’s mandate, while I hope we will continue to exchange information and support one another.”

According to Thapelo Motokolo, Acting Campus Manage at the Tshwane North Tvet College the collaboration will ensure that SNE students at tertiary level have the same access to education using the same equipment and devices at TVET Colleges. “This will enable our institution to access facilities in TUT without challenges. Government also must allocate equal budget for SNE students and encourage articulation either to TUT or TVET, not only for SNE students programme offerings. We are excited with the collaboration for the mere fact that we are neighbours and work in the same province. Our students experience the same challenges and sharing good practices will greatly help in this collaboration,” concluded Thapelo.

Tshwane University of Technology Student Development Support Staff members and Tshwane North College staff members.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711  Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za