Business unusual for SETAs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pretoria - To help the country realise its target of having a skilled workforce, which will ultimately contribute to the creation of jobs, the Department of Higher Education and Training has extended the operation of all SETAs for the next five years, as from 1 April 2011. 

The term of office of the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), certified in 2005, expired on 31 March 2010, but was extended by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande to 31 March 2011. 

The minister announced that for the next five-year term, all 21 SETAs will now function with improved standards of governance under new constitutions. 

SETAs have in the past faced negative public perceptions around their challenges on financial management, administration and ability to deliver the required services.

The department said all that is about to change, with renewed focus and the agenda of skilling the nation taking higher precedence than before. 

In order to strengthen the Sector Skills Plans, all SETAs will now have to ensure they understand their sector environment, and must develop plans specific to this to help them achieve their outcomes. 

"The big change that was introduced was that there was no longer a one size fits all plan for all SETAs, but a customised needs-based plan. SETAs were also encouraged to ensure that they consult with sector experts as to the needs of the sector," said the department.

The department is now also required to ensure that the relevant government departments are consulted in the Sector Plans, and that the Human Resource Development Council is also involved in the process.

The Quality Council for Trades and Occupations has also been established to improve occupational qualifications, against which learnerships and apprenticeship programmes are developed. 

To get the SETAs started on their new lifecycle, a model and standard SETA Constitution has been formulated as a best practice guideline to improve accountability and performance of SETA boards. 

The SETAs have also been armed with new boards with independent chairpersons, a move the minister believes will make SETAs more efficient. 

Among other steps to be taken by the department to make SETAs work better are:

* reducing the size of boards

* participation of the government and ministerial appointment to the SETA boards, in line with similar practices in other public entities

* having a standard remuneration rate for board and committee members

* holding accountable board members who do not carry out their duties as required

* ensuring the members of the board and the management of a SETA do not participate in any tender processes where they may have an interest

Nzimande has thanked all outgoing SETA boards and chairpersons, especially in their role in holding the reins during the transition phase, and cooperating and engaging with the new phase. - BuaNews

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