Technical and vocational education is vital to building the South African economy in addition to helping to make the New Growth Path (NGP) a reality according to Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.
If the country hopes to do an about turn in relation to the decline in the country’s manufacturing industries and improve the overall hospitality and other service industries, then we all need to develop the necessary skills to make it possible.
He further stated the fact that the pursuit of decent employment in South Africa would most likely be possible and sustainable if the country developed a skilled labor force. This certainly will bolster the working class and make workers significantly less expendable and more central to help expand economic development.
The minister was giving a presentation in Shanghai, China, where he was chairing a roundtable discussion on the role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in middle-income countries during the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Third International Congress on TVET.
Nzimande is leading a high-level nine-member South African delegation to the congress including senior officials of his department and representatives from the National Skills Authority (NSA), the Quality Council on Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the Mining Qualifications Authority along with the Education Policy Unit of Wits University.
Showcasing the value of the conference for developing countries, Nzimande stated it came during a period when technical and vocational education and training was in fact progressively more central to the country’s development agenda.
South Africa perfectly demonstrates this trend with recently developed policies that highlight the strengthening of the effectiveness of FET colleges and SETAs, reinvigorating artisan training, in addition to establishing close ties between educational institutions and employers, the minister pointed out.
He pointed out that a great many middle-income countries were for the most part producers of minerals and agricultural raw materials, however to develop further, they found it necessary to beneficiate their raw materials and develop their manufacturing along with other key industries, which in turn demanded the growth of technical and vocational skills among their workers.
He cautioned that large informal economies in poor and middle-income countries really should not be pushed aside by governing bodies, but instead be assisted by a variety of means, which would include things like training.
“This would help make sure they are more productive and help in bringing them into the formal economy. TVET policies needs to be related to economic development policies in general in addition to industrial and other associated sectors’ policies. Having said that, TVET must not be narrowly occupationally focused, but rather needs to include important elements of social studies and ethics,” the minister suggested.
The congress is talking about a wide selection of TVET issues which includes advertising and marketing the appeal of TVET, teaching and learning strategies, promoting social equity through TVET, skills development for rural transformation and the governance and financing of TVET.
Source: BuaNews. UNESCO