Tag Archives: Blade Nzimande

Shortage of scarce skills threatens SA’s growth

South Africa’s skills shortage is having a debilitating effect on the country’s economic projection, says Minister for Higher Education, Blade Nzimande.

He said that the shortage of professionals and artisans in particular was largely responsible for the country’s failure to achieve the targeted 6 percent growth rate in the period 2010 to 2014.

He said government needed to invest in skills development and training, especially the youth, if it were to meet the set targets.

“This is why my department has earmarked about R3.2 million for scarce skills areas for the financial years 2010/11 and 2011/12. These include engineering at universities, universities of technology and comprehensive universities,” said the minister.

However, he said while institutions need to produce more graduates in scarce skills fields, such as actuaries, there was a need for the profession and the labour market to make sure that it retains sufficient experienced professionals to mentor newcomers.

“We need to ensure that we do not just grow the number of actuaries we produce, but we should also make sure that we retain them,” he said.

Nzimande commended the South African Actuaries Development Programme, which started in 2003, for the wonderful work they were doing to make Actuarial Science accessible to the previously disadvantaged communities.

“Among the previously disadvantaged institutions, only the Universities of the Western Cape and Zululand offer the qualification, it is in this context that efforts towards opening up the profession to the historically disadvantaged population are commendable.”

It was encouraging that the programme had already started producing qualified actuaries since its inception and makes special efforts to provide support to students to ensure they succeed in their studies, Nzimande said.

“We need to expose young people to a variety of career opportunities so that they can make informed decisions about the career paths they choose,” Nzimande said.

Source: BuaNews


Teachers provide hope of a better life for children

Teachers provide the only hope that many people have that their children will find their way out of poverty, unemployment and hopelessness.

“Without teachers leading the process, the schools will never become the kind of empowering institutions that people have dreamed about for over a century,” Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande said on Friday.

He told teachers, gathered at a South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) National General Council, that they were in a key position to counsel and empower children to further their studies according to the needs of a developmental state.

“This places an enormous responsibility on your shoulders because it means that without your total commitment to your noble profession and to uplifting the children of the workers and the poor, our revolution can never succeed and the doors of learning and culture will never be opened for ordinary South Africans,” Nzimande said.

He noted that while many committed teachers were making the effort to provide learners with a decent education, it was clear that in many schools, their efforts were being undermined by others.

“It is no secret that there are a great number of schools which are dysfunctional and where teaching and learning are minimal, it is also true that our children’s learning achievements are not what they should be and this is a serious blot on our education system and deadly to the culture of learning we are trying to cultivate,” he said.

He reiterated that SADTU is well placed to lead the national effort to prepare young people for a successful future, cooperating with the Education Departments and communities.

Nzimande also acknowledged difficult circumstances that many teachers find themselves in, noting that the state also sometimes falls short in providing the kind of support that they need.

He assured the teachers that the current government is more committed than ever to working with them to achieve what needs to be achieved and urged them to hold hands with government and move forward together.

“Together we must identify the root causes of the malaise in many of our schools and try to rehabilitate those who do not take education seriously, revolution was never an easy process and turning around the kind of dysfunctional and malignant education system that we inherited from apartheid will take hard work and sacrifice.

“As an influential public sector trade union, I believe that SADTU has a more strategic role to play in the overall development of a functional, high quality education system,” said Nzimande.

He stressed that the establishment of the two education departments should go beyond narrow, bureaucratic processes and should include input and co-operation from all sectors of society including organised labour.

“SADTU is a powerful voice in education and therefore needs to partner with government on its journey of continuity and change. This means that we should build on the positives in the system and remedy what is wrong.”

Source: info.gov.za, cosatu.org.za,