4IR skills development course redress

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MU Kubeka started this petition to MICT Seta and

We are group of students enrolled with UJ through Firtech and the MICT Seta to partake in a 3D Printing Skills Development Course for 3 three months.

Initially there was excitement as we began the course, which unfortunately died down within the first month.

Our contract with MICT Seta stated that this would be a full-time course running Monday to Friday 7am till 5pm. That was not so, we only attended class 2 days  a week for about 3 hrs per day, excluding a single week with Dr Merv, which was the only highlight of the course, based on entrepreneurial skills.

The course was set for the acquisition 3D printing skills, but for over 2 months, we mostly engaged in entrepreneurial skills, which we highly appreciate, although it is not the main outcome in this case). Even after that, we still had no access to resources, that would be the computer lab for self teaching and research purposes. In our last week, we were scheduled to  complete our practicals (a constantly changing schedule where at 8am you receive a whatsapp text informing you to be in class by 9am, when some students don't even reside in Johannesburg), the actual printing of the designs we had done regardless of the lack of facilities and resources we were promised, we just so happened to be asked to leave and were told that we would not be printing.

Apparently, according to one of our lecturers, one of us had stolen an SD card, meant to assist with the printing. Even without proof of what had actually happened, students tried to come with resolutions of replacement of the card, so we would be able to continue with our practicals, the lecturer insisted we leave his premises and that we would never print.

Only 3 learners were able print successfully. About a third of the class, one that had initially hosted over 43 learners, attempted to print, unsuccessfully, as we had not yet gained a practical handle on the act of printing..

My point is, a skill is acquired through the act of practicing the skill. We were not given that opportunity, we were given theory and expected to succeed on the first attempt of 3D printing. Only a few were allowed to attempt printing, and yet, students passed the course with an average of above 80%. How this is so, when those students had not even submitted theoretical assignments (due to lack of adequate assistance and guidance), and had not done practicals, we do not understand.

We, as the students, are thrilled with the opportunity given us, and we do have alot of interest in the subject matter and do want to acquire the skills we had originally signed up for. We feel we have been cheated and treated disrespectfully not just as individuals but participators in the future of our country, and have been ripped off the opportunity to partake positively in the future development of our economy within the 4IR sector.

We would like a redress of this occurrence, as we believe that the course did not fulfill its key aspects of the transference of the skill of 3D printing.

We would like a re-course, in the sense that we receive an extra month, set according to the initial contracts we'd signed with the MICT Seta, to be given the opportunity to receive further in-depth assistance with our assignments, access to resources to gain a better handle on the software, as well as printing, and thereby being rightfully and fairly assessed and certified.

If a redress does not occur, millions of rands worth of tax payers money has been wasted, an essential part of the future economy of country has been lost. There is no Return on Investment for our country as whole. It is simply a pathetic, yet dire loss to our country and its people.

However, if the course is redressed, our country gains, the weight of unemployment in our youth has the potential to be lightened. And the less advantaged areas that we, as the future graduates of this course, reside in, can be developed and therefore also partake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as we have every intention to not just move forward ourselves, but pass the skill on also, and develop others.

 

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