Industry involvement needed in TVET curriculum review process

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has underscored the need for additional industry involvement in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college curriculum review process.

“What is also critical is the need for more substantial industry involvement in the TVET curriculum review process to enhance responsiveness to industry needs and requirements,” the Minister said.

He was addressing the TVET Curriculum Transformation and Innovation Summit, currently underway at Vodaworld Dome in Midrand.

Nzimande said the (TVET) college curriculum reform has the potential to contribute in various ways to improving the employability, productivity and success rates of college graduates.

“In order for us to be successful in bringing these changes, there is also a need for change in the management strategies to prepare for current and future TVET curriculum challenges. Furthermore, we need to develop leadership programmes to help leaders within the TVET sector to bring about the necessary curriculum change,” Nzimande said on Monday.

Highlighting some of the progress made in building a sustainable TVET sector, Nzimande said South Africa is producing on average 20 000 qualified artisans per year.

“Ours is to ensure that the number increases significantly to meet our National Development Plan (NDP) target to produce 30 000 qualified artisans per year by 2030.”

Nzimande also highlighted that the number of Centres for Specialisation has been expanded to 34 at 27 TVET colleges, to enhance workplace linked training of artisans and related occupations.

A further investment of R68 million has also been allocated in 16 colleges, who now have 33 trade test centres.

“These trade test centres have trade tested over 600 apprentices of which over 500 have qualified as artisans. Currently 26 of our colleges are engaged in entrepreneurial training through our entrepreneurship hubs.”

The department is hard at work to ensure that all the colleges are involved in some form of entrepreneurship training and also plans to, through the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), introduce innovation hubs in TVET colleges.

The Minister said, the department has to date, opened up 14 954 TVET placement opportunities to the value of R726 million. It has also committed to achieving a target of 20 000 placements of TVET graduates in work placements, as per President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment at this year’s State of the Nation Address.

Establishment of 4IR centres

The importance of responsiveness of TVET colleges to 21st century conditions, both locally and globally was also emphasised and various initiatives are underway to achieve this. These include the establishment of seven Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) centres.

“These centres, with the support of stakeholders such as the ETDP SETA (Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority), aim to scale up digital skills among students and staff.

“Leveraging the potential of the digital economy to reduce youth unemployment is a priority, and we are grateful to our partners such as HUAWEI, Cisco, GIZ, IYF, and others for their contributions to our digital skilling mission,” Nzimande said.

The Minister also expresses his appreciation to the department’s partners, including the Allan and Gill Gray Foundation, the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) for their support in assisting the department to produce young entrepreneurs.

“The Vhembe TVET College in Limpopo has reported producing three millionaires through this development initiative,” he said.

The three-day summit which started on Monday, is being held under the theme: “TVET curriculum transformation: a key to unlock skills development for the modern economy”.

The summit brings together various role players in the TVET sector under one roof to engage and take to higher levels the curriculum transformation and innovation challenges of the TVET sector. –