High hopes for BRICS education agreement

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pretoria – Cabinet has welcomed the education agreement entered into by the BRICS group of nations, which holds great promise to make a necessary and significant impact on the education landscape.

The agreement was signed in Moscow on 19 November 2015, by South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Minister, Blade Nzimande, and BRICS partners -- Brazil, Russia, India and China.

It is aimed at developing a framework for future cooperation in education. The agreement follows a meeting in Brazil earlier this year, where BRICS member states agreed to promote efforts to internationalise higher education and academic mobility, bolster vocational and technical education, as well as to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Briefing media after a Cabinet meeting in Pretoria, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said the BRICS agreement covers general education, educational policy strategy, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and higher education.

South Africa has been on a drive to make TVET colleges institutions of choice among prospective students and to widen the options in the post-school tertiary sector.

“TVET colleges hold the potential to unlock economic opportunities for our young people, while addressing the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty affecting communities,” Minister Radebe said.

In 2014, Minister Nzimande said R19.2 billion had been allocated over the next three years to ensure that TVET college enrolments continue to grow. Enrolments had risen more than 130% since 2009.

Minister Radebe on Friday said the BRICS agreement, which will improve the quality of teaching and teachers’ education, also commits BRICS universities to support joint research projects, encourage collaborative programmes at postgraduate, doctoral and postdoctoral levels and the co-publishing of scientific results.

At the time of the signing of the agreement, Minister Nzimande said a process was already underway to nominate 12 South African universities to participate in the BRICS Network of Universities, which will be anchor universities for collaboration.

“The department has established a national coordinating committee, comprising government and members of the academic community to play an oversight role in the establishment of the BRICS Network,” Minister Nzimande said. – SAnews.gov.za

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