As many TVET Colleges re-open in the Eastern Cape on Monday, Port Elizabeth College students are concerned about mid-year examinations. Many students say the COVID- 19 pandemic has resulted in them being inadequately prepared. The students say while some universities and colleges provided their students with resources such as laptops and data, they did not receive anything. Those who rely on NSFAS for funding fear that failure will jeopardise their chances of securing funding next year.

“I am very worried because we haven’t really been able to study yet we are expected to write our exam. The last time we heard about interventions like laptop and data was on TV, nothing was ever done to meet us halfway. It makes me sad.”

“I don’t know how we are going to make it, some of us would try and come to class so we could catch up, but when we got here there was no one. No lecturer around. Some teachers tried in their own capacity to teach us by sending things on WhatsApp, but it’s been very hard to keep up cause some didn’t.”

The students are now very concerned about failing. They worry that with funding at stake if they fail, they could lose their finances. PE College Student Representative Council (SRC) President, Sipho Mthi, says this could jeopardise the future of many students as they rely on NSFAS to fund their studies, accommodation and meals.

“Most of these students rely on NSFAS for funding and we all know that in order to secure an NSFAS you need to pass your exams and they need progress. Now, most of these students might fail their exams because they were never prepared enough and if that happens they will lose their student loan, what will then become of them? I am very worried because this has potential to mess up their whole future,” says Mthi.

Luyanda Thisana, a student at PE College, says he is very disappointed with how the college has been handling this situation.

“The least we expected was to deliver what the Minister (Dr Blade Nzimande) has promised because the minister said during this pandemic there would be online tests, our college has our contact details but there was no online teaching. Since last month the schools opened the only active school term was less than a week.”

Attempts to get comment from the college were unsuccessful.