Tag Archives: skills shortage

Lack of education is the root of SA unskilled labour force problems

Education South Africa


The root of South Africa’s problems and lack of a skilled labour force stems from the poor education system and with those given the responsibility to administer the nations education system. The main cause of unemployment, poverty and inequality in South Africa today is not  only because of the history of Apartheid but due to the bad education, lack of accountability in government and low standards of our schooling system today.

There is growing concern by businesses and universities over the failure and ability of most school pupils to pass mathematics. Given this failure and lack of will in government to address this issue is causing a skills shortage in numerous professions in the country.

It is a universally accepted principle that education is the catalyst for any economic and human growth within a society and is a fundamental human right which has a direct effect on any democracy and political stability.

Research has shown that the vast majority of South African school students are opting for mathematical literacy because they feel that they would rather opt for subject that they have a chance of passing. In the recent World Economic Forum review and study on maths and science education ranked South Africa 133 out of 142 countries overall. When it came to  maths and science education, South Africa came in at 141 ahead of Yemen in last place.

Studies have shown that the country’s education system is failing to achieve basic standards of numeracy and literacy in grades three and six. A former Wits University mathematics lecturer Lynn Bowie, was quoted as saying that, “The problems in mathematics education in South Africa do not begin at matric level. Both research and personal experience indicates that many of our learners do not get a firm foundation in mathematics at primary school and so enter high school without the skills necessary to progress in mathematics.”

The basics premise of any education system is that education is built upon what is learnt in the previous year. If pupils do not get a good foundation in mathematics is highly unlikely that these pupils will be able to succeed at higher levels as they progress through the education system.

While we can point fingers at the Education Department and lack of government will and accountability to tackle the failures in the country’s education system, we must also look at the pupils and their commitments and will to study. According to many reports and statements from teachers, who are too afraid to speak publicly to protect their jobs, blame students and parents for the lack of commitment to their education. Teachers say that pupils do just enough in class to achieve a pass mark but do not practise what they re learning and when they fail it is always the teachers who take the brunt of the blame and responsibility. Those students who take their education seriously and value the benefits of a good education do well and go on to achieve university degrees. Many teachers feel that the government lowers the education standards in order to create the impression that the pass rates are good and improving.

Education is should not a used as a political tool to gain four in the eyes of the voting public. Rather it is enshrined in the constitution as a basic right for all individuals to have access to education.

There is a feeling amongst many parents in the country that they would prefer that their children attend private schools because they feel that public school teachers do the bare minimum and lack commitment to their profession. parents understand that teachers have a preference towards private schools given the higher salaries and better work environment.

The National Planning Commission has published statistics that teachers in black schools teach on average only 3.5 hours per day as compared to 6.5 hours per day in former while schools.

Currently, in order for  student to achieve a pass mark for maths all they need is between 30 and 40 percent. This is a deeply worrying fact given that this result does not permit the student to enroll in any degree that requires mathematics at universities.

To achieve the minimum pass mark for maths, student need only to display that they have mastered only fairly routine procedures according to Lynn Bowie. “To be able to cope with the rigours of university mathematics learners would need to have demonstrated capabilities in dealing with more complex procedures and in problem-solving.”

Over the past few years, only a small fraction (less than 20 000) of the total number of students sitting for their matric exams, roughly half-a-million , are able to achieve the results in mathematics that is required by universities in order to cope the high level of mathematics required by degrees such as engineering or actuarial science.

This low standard and lack of student being able to achieve good results in mathematics is having a huge effect on the labour force and number of skilled professionals required to grow the economy.

A student, who prefers to remain anonymous, who attended ML Sultan Secondary School, a public school in Pietermaritzburg, gained entry to pursue mathematics at Wits University attributes his success to hard work and a dedicated teacher who offered extra lessons over weekends. All those participating in the group all achieved good grades in Matric. The student is of the opinion that the government and Department of Education are not serious about improving the standards of education in the country.

Upon graduation the pupil applied to education department for a job to assist mathematics pupils in Pietermaritzburg region and in return all the pupils was asking was transport money as compensation. The Department of Education has not replied to the student request.

Last year, South Africa’s expenditure on education was 6% of gross domestic product. In the 2012/13 financial year, education would account for almost R207 billion.

Statistics from the South African Institute of Race Relations show that at least 84 high schools do not offer mathematics for grades 10 to 12 last year. The Limpopo province having the highest number of school not offering mathematics. The reason for this is the lack of qualified teachers on a national basis.

The reality and research has shown that the vast majority of pupils who perform poorly in mathematics in Matric are black students which in turn rings alarm bells hen it comes to fixing inequalities in certain faculties at tertiary institutions if not impossible.

Currently all matric students undertake the same exam in mathematics if they want to pusue a career in engineering at university level or if it s basic requirement for a technically-related trade they wanted to pursue. “Our one-size-fits-all mathematics curriculum and school-leaving examination is unusual in the international context and perhaps needs to be reconsidered,” said Bowie.

The success or failure of students does not only fall on the quality of teachers and principles at schools, but also lies with parents, government commitment and accountability, and the Department of Education.


Groen Sebenza project helps train students in the biodiversity sector


Groen Sebenza Project


The  Groen Sebenza project has launched and endeavors to train and skill unemployed youth with the skill sets in the biodiversity sector. The launch of the project was attended by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and forms part of Environment Month celebrations.

The project has been spearheaded by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) along with its goal and mission to develop necessary skills and bridge the gap between education and job opportunities within the biodiversity sector. Capital backing and finance for the project is originating from the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s Jobs Fund.

The project’s target audience are young students who have at least a matric or a degree.

At the launch, Molewa communicated her thanks to all partners associated with the project and very proud to unveiling a pioneering project. She also express her excitement for being a part of and playing a leading role in the training and education of young students who happen to be vibrant and confident professional for the country’s biodiversity and natural resource management sector.

“This is a ground-breaking partnership with 33 environmental and biodiversity-focused organisations from all spheres of government, business and the NGO sector. “It is the Department of Environmental Affairs’ hope that the effective implementation of the incubator concept will have a catalytic impact on skills development and job creation,” she said.

Over the next two and half years, the Groen Sebenza project will train and skill roughly 800 out of work youth and place these candidates in skilled across public, private and non-governmental institutions in the local biodiversity sector. The main objective and structure of the project is centered on training, mentoring and workplace-based learning together with the goal to upgrade the skills of a group of young and capable professionals as well as help boost South Africa’s biodiversity sector which wishes to create jobs within the green economy.

A number of the students reaping benefits from this project also sole bread-winners of their extended families. The sole aim of the project is to train and offer matriculants and young professionals with the required skills and knowledge the capability to access the job market in the biodiversity sector.

“We are all aware, the battle against poverty is not won once one gains a qualification from an institution. The challenge within this sector is that students with the right qualifications struggle to bridge the gap between education and employment in the sector,” Molewa said.

SANBI Chief Executive Officer Dr Tanya Abrahamse said ” the project essentially brings to life, the ideals of the vision of a green economy by mobilising for and engendering the involvement of young people in the management of biodiversity through job creation.”

SANBI are confident and believe that the project is an excellent leap forward for the country to cope with the skills shortage in the sector. One success story is for 28 year old Sabelo Linda from Osizweni who holds an Honours degree in Science but was unemployed when joining the project. He is now employed by NCC Environmental Services in Cape Town.


For more info on the Groen Sebenza project – Click here


Source: SAnews.gov.za, sanbi.org (photo)


SA requires skills drive to remain internationally competitive

South Africa’s automotive industry perhaps may not at the moment be in significant trouble, nonetheless its present state of affairs will not be sustainable and is accompanied by a widening skills gap and intense international competition continuing to be vital challenges.

A short while ago, a roundtable discussion around the skills needs and competitiveness of the sector took place with an essential emphasis on enumerating all the elements that the sector will need to make improvements to to maintain the nation’s position within the international industry.

Among the list of key points in Brand South Africa’s mandate is to assess the country’s competitiveness across a variety of fields on a regular basis, and to accomplish that Brand South Africa makes use of various indices that assist to put issues into perspective.

If you can’t monitor it you can’t measure it.



Champions of industry


South Africa at present has eight of the biggest vehicle assembly plants in the world, and the sector employs somewhere around 300 000 individuals of a variety of skills sets and expertise. The vast majority of plants of international brands including BMW, VW and Mercedes-Benz are located in and around Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. The lower production expenses associated with manufacturing in South Africa have been the leading drawcard for multinationals over the years.

Barlow Manilal, CEO of the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) which is mandated by the government to assist, uplift and sustain the standard of the nation’s competitiveness in the global field – referred to the warning signs that South Africa needs to pay attention to to be able to continue to be relevant.

“The automotive industry is export oriented,” he said, “while some of our competitors are wealthier than us, and do not have the social issues that we have to deal with as a country.”

The AIDC’s vision for the year 2020 is to double local content, with regards to the value of vehicles produced at the assembly plants, by 35% to 70%. Current production output per annum is 600 000 units, and this need to increase to 1.2-million units if the country does not want to be overtaken by its competitors.

“A large part of that vision relates to the training we have to instill in the sector,” said Manilal, adding the fact that it is not about the number of individuals who acquire this training, but whether or not it is applicable to the requirements of the sector.

At the moment China has an engineer for every 130 people in its population, in comparison to South Africa which has one for every 3 166. This indicates a discrepancy in the training sector, in particular for disciplines that demand technical skills such as mathematics and science.




Skills shortage


Right now there are at the very least 50 000 technical vacancies in South Africa which simply cannot be filled, due to the fact that there are insufficient people who have the minimum educational requirements.

Despite the fact that Further Education and Training colleges (FETs) have the capacity to graduate a large number of skilled students as artisans annually by way of a variety of programmes, the issue continues to be that these individuals are not easily absorbed by the industry.

They are simply not certified with industry standards and / or struggle to compete with their university counterparts who have the ability to offer not simply artisan-level skills, but can also apply understanding of maths and science to their daily job requirements.

In an attempt to obtain industry an understanding of what is wrong with the existing South African situation, Brand South Africa invited the executive director of Tata Automobile Corporation South Africa, Sudhir Babshet. He concurs to the incontrovertible fact that the situation in South Africa requires immediate attention, and provided a means to fix it, stating that the main objective of the country’s education system in general ought to be focused on primary education, where pupils can be inspired and moulded in fields that they are naturally good in.

This would, in turn, decrease the university dropout rates that the country experiences for the reason that children would have valued their skills from a young age and grown up understanding what they have to offer their country.

“Education forms the basis of the problem of skills shortages in this country.”

Dr Thokozani Simelane, Chief research specialist for the Africa Institute of South Africa, attributed the current state of affairs to some extent on a weakness in the government’s initiatives to integrate its skills development strategies.

“You have one programme that should be speaking to another, as they will be serving complimentary purposes, but neither is aware of the other’s mandate and how it can benefit its own ideals.”




Serious competition


Discussing the threats that the global automotive industry is experiencing, Manilal alluded to an article in the financial daily Business Report, which described the recent closure of a Ford van factory in the UK, with a potential loss of 2 000 jobs in the process .

“This for me is a red flag for our local industry,” he stated, “because it means that if it can happen in the UK, it probably can happen anywhere in the world.”

This triggered a discussion on where South Africa’s export prospects ought to lie, considering the small, gradual adjustments to the global landscape, participants at the same time discussed possible solutions to the problem.

Simelane pointed out that South Africa continues to be a lucrative marketplace for used vehicles, which he pointed out, are imported from abroad.

“We have to move away from being the dumping ground for these units,” he said. As the world progresses towards more environment-friendly technology in vehicle manufacturing, such as the electric car, South Africa faces the risk of being on the receiving end of what will then be unwanted stock of these used cars.

“This will mean that we will fall behind, once more, in terms of advancing towards this technology.”

Innovation is the only way South Africa will attain the successes of the countries that lead industries throughout the world.




Turning the situation around


To change the sector’s skills problem, a number of suggestions and proposals were put forward.

Manilal called for a proactive approach by FET colleges in order to absorb students into the industry and make the process less complicated.

“Colleges must take accountability for penetrating the industry,” he said, “and should set up alumni programmes where they monitor the progress of former students and whether their skills are actually being used.”

The AIDC is embarking on an eight-year plan that also includes an academy. They are going to target rural schools, teaching pupils on the subject of the automotive industry from school level, to ensure that they don’t only become familiar about the sector when they leave college.

He also called for the private sector to establish projects to adopt and sponsor schools and to help impart the essential skills from a young age. This could possibly be incentivised by tax rebates from the government.

Simelane, on the flip side, mentioned that the input-output ratio for FETs requires budget changes.

“We should rather take funds from the budget of organisations like the National Youth Development Agency and redistribute these to the FET-oriented industry to enable it to absorb artisans.”

With regards to the national level, Manilal asserted that the government should consider looking into an accreditation system for schools across all grades, including primary level. By doing this a sustainable record of which schools perform better in which areas, and under which circumstances will be created.

Source: mediaclubsouthafrica.com


Skills shortage in the Motor Retail Industry

In 2010 the Motor Industry contributed 6.2% to the country’s gross domestic production.

It has been identified that there is a need to improve the industries employment equity targets including a new generation of high energy individuals with a passion for sales.

INTELLIGO Solutions presents the opportunity for candidates interested in entering the market or changing careers to enrol on our Motor Retail Finance and Insurance PLUS programme early 2012.

What are the minimum entry-level learning requirements to enrol?

•    Grade 12
•    Including; Communication at NQF Level 4 in two (2) official South African Languages (Essential)
•    The following subjects will be an advantage;
•    Grade 12 Mathematics
•    Grade 12 Accounting or Business Economics.


Why enrol on the Motor Retail Finance and Insurance PLUS programme?

On full competency of Modules 1, 2 and 3, of the Motor Retail Finance and Insurance PLUS programme an opportunity could arise for you to submit your CV to apply for the position of Finance and Insurance Administration Assistance or a similar position in the motor industry as an Aftersales Consultant in the Service Department.

The Finance and Insurance Administration Assistance position will require you to work under supervision for 12 months in terms of the FAIS Act Fit & Proper Requirements and complete the full qualification. Terms and conditions apply.

Career Change

As a registered FAIS representative currently employed in the short term or long term insurance industry and you have achieved the minimum FAIS Fit & Proper requirements for the FETC: Short Term Insurance Qualification Level 4 or FETC: Long Term Insurance Qualification Level 4 this achievement will be identified as Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) against the applicable unit standards in the FETC: Retail Insurance Qualification Level 4, and complete the balance of the unit standards to achieve the FAIS Act Fit & Proper Requirements.

Terms and conditions apply.

INTELLIGO Solutions is an independent Skills Development Training provider within Retail Finance and Insurance Industry.

The INTELLIGO Solutions team collectively has more than 30 years of Skills Development and Motor Retail Finance and Insurance experience.

INTELLIGO Solutions’ teamwork stimulates our strengths and adds value to our customers learning experiences thereby empowering our learners to achieve successful results for both the organisation and the individual and to promote skills development in Southern Africa.

To view Company profile and coursesclick here


South African National student scheme gets a boost

An extra sum of R150 million has become available the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to concentrate on dealing with skills shortage and deficiency in South Africa.

On Monday, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande made the announcement and explained that by way of the National Skills Fund (NSF), the department has earmarked R22.9 million which is to be specifically for the funding and investment in 820 first year students and R7 million when it comes to a specialized bursary scheme aimed towards rural students who definitely have performed extraordinarily well in the 2010 Grade 12 examinations.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande

In response to its commitment along with responsibility to promoting the means to access tertiary education for those who have disabilities, the department has additionally earmarked R21 million for 300 first year bursaries for individuals with disabilities, while using the balance of R99.1 million that will be allocated to students that happen to be currently studying within the scarce career fields.

The NSF will at the same time will be allocating R100 million Career Wise bursaries within the following categories:

* R17 million to fund 258 first year students
* R4 million for the Dipaleseng Special Bursary Scheme
* R4.6 million for 67 first year bursaries
* R11.5 million to support 245 first year students pursuing studies in Chartered Accountancy at the University of Fort Hare

In an effort to be of assistance and ease the the means to access Further Education and Training (FET) colleges and enable the country to fulfill its requirements for intermediate and technical skills, diligent students coming from poor families, are going to be exempted from having to pay academic fees this coming year.

The bursaries, that will be designated to students, whose parents or guardians earn a combined salary of R122 000 per annum, will take care of tuition fees, accommodation, meals and transportation expenses.

Having said that, Nzimande asked for recipients to work hard and deliver the results given that the department is going to be keeping track of their performances, and alerting them to the reality that in case they are not able to produce decent results, the bursary could well be forfeited.

“This is absolutely not a free ride, all of us demand learners to work hard. You simply can’t carry on and obtain a bursary if you do not deliver, I am going to take a close look at students overall performance,” cautioned Nzimande.

In dealing with the difficult task most typically associated with the scarcity of professional career guidance in schools, the department and South African Qualifications Authority has entered into a joint venture with SABC to make available to students information and facts on the subject of career guidance, for students that happen to be uncertain or undecided as to which career path to pursue.

The career information and facts are also going to be broadcast on all Nguni radio stations.

Nzimande pointed out that he was excited and enthusiastic about the joint venture, simply because it will probably greatly enhance the challenge of students when it comes to making a choice on the career and profession to pursue.

“Our goal, objective and purpose will be to make certain that information and facts follow to rural schools and also that no learners should go to school without having this kind of important information and facts. It ought to be provided much earlier in their education and learning careers,” Nzimande mentioned.

Help and advice could also be obtained through the career advice centre and career advice website www.careerhelp.org.za or from NQF and Career Advice Helpline on 0860 111 673.

The helpline may also be contacted via SMS on 072 2045 056 or email help@nqf.org.za. The Post-School Options Information Pack is available on www.careerhelp.org.za or maybe emailed to callers who request the pack from helpline 0860 111 673 or SMS 072 2045 056 or email help@nqf.org.za

Source: BuaNews, nsfas.org.za, skills-universe.com