Industry must help to shape higher education

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pretoria Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says industry must partner with stakeholders in the post-school education sector to help mould the educational outcomes that will give the country the skills it needs to grow the economy.

These are the people who know what skills are needed. Industry needs to collaborate with management to improve the profile of our TVET [technical vocational education and training] colleges.

“Training at these institutions needs to become an attractive proposition for any young person seeking skills for meaningful employment. Industry needs to work with management to ensure that what is taught is relevant and that those who are doing the teaching are sufficiently knowledgeable and effectively equipped,” said the Deputy President on Friday.

He was speaking at the two-day National Skills Conference in Pretoria, which ends today. The National Skills Authority (NSA), in conjunction with Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande, is convening the conference for stakeholders in the post-school education and training system. The programme included an awards ceremony to celebrate excellence by recognising best skills development practices across all skills development implementers and NSF Funded Projects in various categories.

The conference is held under the theme, ‘Skills Development for an Integrated and Differentiated Post-School Education and Training System: Past, Present and Future’.

Deputy President Ramaphosa said the conference must inform a new way of thinking that changes the entire approach to skills development into one that is rooted in the future.

“We need an education and training system that understands and anticipates the profound impact that technological change will have on our economy and society.

"We must develop the skills that people need now because people need jobs now. But we must be working just as hard to develop the skills that our people will need tomorrow.”

He said the theme of the conference resonates with the objectives of the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, which is a stark reminder that if the post-school system is to serve the country well, more places and different avenues are needed for people to learn.

“It [the White Paper] says if we are to serve the needs of all South Africans better, we need more types of courses and qualifications. It stresses that if we are to serve the poor and working class better, we need more financial support for students, and better quality education and training.

“Cognisant that patriarchy perpetuates the disempowerment of women, post-school education and training must broaden access for women to skills development opportunities.

“Cognisant that people in rural areas have fewer opportunities than urban residents, we need to direct resources towards those parts of the country that have traditionally been neglected.”

Today, South Africa spends not less than 5% of its gross domestic product on education to expand access, improve quality and increase output. R5 billion has been set aside to fund the higher education and training sector in 2019/

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