SETA new landscape; Post-School Education and Training National Plan; with Minister and Deputy Minister

Higher Education, Science and Technology

22 August 2018
Chairperson: Ms C September (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Portfolio Committee met with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to receive presentations on progress with the finalisation of the new Sectoral Education and Training Authority (SETA) landscape, and on the National Plan for Post-School Education and Training (PSET). The meeting was attended by both the Minister and Deputy Minister.

The background, principles, outcomes and institutional arrangement of the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) were discussed in detail. As well as the proposed SETA landscape, this had the regrouping and merging of sectors from the current 21 to 15 proposed. The rationale for the rearrangement was given to the Committee.

In the progress report on the National Plan for PSET, the development process, format and outline were given. In addition the system goals, objectives and outcomes, the key strategies and targets per sub-system were discussed. The financing, resourcing, legal and policy alignment and implications for the internal organisation of the DHET were covered.

Minister Pandor said that there was a real difficulty in the context of higher education, and to some degree all of us as adults had to accept responsibility, as we had not been as forceful and articulate as we should have been when violence ensued. It had become a standard encounter, and the Minister herself received threatening letters on a weekly basis. This culture had been allowed to develop, and it needed to be confronted and hopefully reversed. The institutions needed to lead in the creation of a new ethos and culture.

The Members had a collective concern for the necessity of the regrouping of the SETAs, and questioned how this would make an impact on learners. They felt that the goals for 2030 were bold and ambitious, but supported the Department fully on this. They also sought clarity on the issue of obtaining consensus throughout the country and ensuring that issues confronted in the past would be resolved and put away for good.

Meeting report

National Skills Development Plan: Briefing by DHET

Ms Melissa Erra, Director: Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), led the presentation on the National Skills Development Plan (NSDP). She said eight Plan outcomes had been included.

Outcome one: Identify and increase production of occupations in demand

The primary aim of determining occupations in high demand was to improve the responsiveness of the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) system to the needs of the economy and to the broader developmental objectives of the country. A national list of occupations in high demand would be produced and reviewed every two years, and the methodology of Centres of Specialisation would be encouraged. The sub-outcomes included the targets for priority occupations and qualifications, and the indication of interventions required to improve enrolment and completion.

Outcome two: Linking education and workplace

This aimed to improve the relationship between education and training and work, which was a key policy of the White Paper (WP) for PSET. The WP-PSET was unequivocal that the main purpose of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) was to prepare students for the world of work. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-TVET systems in 20 countries had concluded that a key feature common to effective TVET systems everywhere was a focus on training for employment. The sub-outcome was the opening of workplace-based learning opportunities increased. The performance indicators of this would be the number of learners requiring work-integrated learning placed, the number of TVET lectures exposed to workplaces, and the number of learners participating in other various workplace based learning opportunities (learnership, internships, etc.).

Outcome three: Improving the level of skills in the South African workforce

South Africa has been challenged by the low productivity in the workplace, as well as slow transformation of the labour market and a lack of mobility of the workforce. From 2010 to 2014, the share of the employed with matriculation certificates increased by 2.6%, from 49% to 52%, whilst the share of employed with tertiary education increased from 19.3% to 20.5% in 2014. The number of, and share of, those employed with primary school completed or lower was still over two million workers in 2014. The sub-outcome would be the increase in the number of workers participating in various learning programmes, from 37% in 2016 to a minimum of 80% by 2030. The number of workers trained and supported acts as the performance indicator.

Outcome four: Support the increase in access to occupationally directed programmes

The National Development Plan (NDP) set the target of 30 000 artisans produced annually by 2030. This was an indication that South Africa’s intermediate skills base was too low to support the country’s socio-economic development goals. The sub-outcome would be occupational qualifications developed and the increased access for intermediate and high-level skills. The number of qualifications developed and artisans produced act as performance indicators, as well as dedicated grants for artisan development and the artisan recognition of prior learning prioritised and partnership establishment.

Outcome five: Support the growth of the public college system

The NDP situates TVET colleges as critical pillars for social and economic development. Countries with strong TVET colleges had good relationships between industry and the colleges. Community Education and Training (CET) colleges would cater for the knowledge and skill needs of the large number of adults and youths requiring education and training opportunities. Stats SA estimated that more than 18 million people above the age of 20 years have educational levels below the National Senior Certificate (NSC). There were more than 3.3 million youths aged between 15 to 24 years, and 4.6 million between 25 to 34 years, who were not in education, employment or training (NEET). The support of TVET and CET institutional types was a sub-outcome. The support of Centres of Specialisation and support of colleges implementing occupational programmes act as performance indicators, as well as the number of learners in workplace-based learning opportunities and lectures exposed to the workplace, and the number of skills development support for the local small business and cooperatives.

Outcome six: Skills development support for entrepreneurship and cooperative development

It was estimated that small, medium and micro-enterprises (SMMEs) contributed more than 30% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). With regard to employment, SMMEs absorbed about 70%-80% of the employed population, but contributed less than 4% to export earnings. Support for the cooperatives could play an important role, not just in the margins but also in the mainstream of the economy. The sub-outcome was to increase support for entrepreneurial activities and the establishment of new enterprises and cooperatives. The performance indicators include SETA’s identification in its skills planning research and emergent enterprises and cooperatives and their skills needs. In addition to that, there was the number of entrepreneurship and cooperative activities supported by skills levy institutions and the number of workplace-based learning opportunities created.

Outcome seven: Encourage and support worker-initiated training

Trade unions, their educational programmes and other worker-initiated programmes, play an important role in skilling workers in broader sectoral policy and capacity to effectively engage in the workplace and broader economy. Worker-initiated education and training could also contribute to a workforce that would better understand the challenges facing the economic sectors in which they operate. Skills levy Institutions would work with the trade unions in their sectors in the identification of needed skills, especially to better understand their sectors and implement relevant interventions. This would be the performance indicator.

Outcome eight: support career development services

Making a career choice would be one of life’s milestones; this decision has a significant impact on the rest of someone’s life. The NDP talks about the need for every individual to “embrace their potential”, and this embracing and freeing up would be considered critical to the nation’s socio-economic development. Career development services, therefore, do not aim to provide only quality career and study-related information and counselling, but also to contribute to the larger goal of assisting our people to embrace and fulfil their potential. The OECD (2017) Report – Getting Skills Right in South Africa -- called for the provision of a tailor-made career advice services to students early on, based on better skills needs. As a performance indicator, career development must be accessible, especially in rural areas and for targeted beneficiaries of the NSDP, with prioritisation of both sectoral and government priorities.

The presentation was handed over to Mr Maliviwe Lumka, Chief Director of SETA Coordination. He said that the Plan was to decrease the number of SETAs from 21 to 15 and that this would be gazetted within the week for public participation.

Proposed SETA Landscape

  1. Agriculture SETA, Food and Beverages Manufacturing Industry SETA.

Rationale: streamline and integrate the value chain of interrelated and interdependent sectors of forestry, agriculture, food and beverage sub-sectors.

  1. Financial and Accounting Services SETA, Banking SETA, Insurance SETA.

Rationale: streamline and integrate the value chain of interrelated and interdependent sectors of finance, accounting, insurance and investment subs-sectors.

  1. Public Service SETA, Local Government SETA, Energy and Water SETA.

Rationale: streamline and integrate the value chain of interrelated and interdependent sectors of the public service, local government, energy and water sub-sectors.

  1. Construction SETA, Energy and Water SETA

Rationale: streamline and integrate the value chain of interrelated and interdependent sectors by transferring electrical contractors from EWSETA to CETA.

  1. Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services SETA, Fibre Processing and Manufacturing SETA.

Rationale: streamline and integrate the value chain of interrelated and interdependent sub-sectors of manufacturing, engineering, clothing textile, footwear and leather and furniture, timber, printing, packaging and publishing.

  1. Education, Training and Development Practices SETA.
  2. Safety and Security SETA.
  3. Services SETA.
  4. Chemical Industries SETA.
  5. Media, Advertising, Information and Communication Technologies SETA.
  6. Transport SETA.
  7. Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport SETA.
  8. Wholesale and Retail SETA.
  9. Health and Welfare SETA; and
  10. Mining Qualifications SETA.

National Plan for PSET: Progress report

Dr Diane Parker, Deputy Director-General on University Education, presented the progress report on the development of the national Plan for PSET. She said that this was the proposed plan, as it had yet to be finalised. She also noted that there was no distinct section for skills development, as it was vital throughout all sections.

The Plan development process had begun in 2016. Between November 2017 and March 2018, there had been consultation in which each branch had interacted with their respective communities and stakeholders. Feedback on the consultative draft was received between December 2017 and April 2018, but few comments were made on the Plan as a whole. Generally, comments were sub-sector specific and cross-cutting chapters. Regardless of that, the comments received were analysed and key areas for further discussion and policy decisions were identified. A workshop with the Minister was held on 7 July 2018, where key policy directives and decisions were made. Currently the Plan was being revised and the full draft would be due by the end of September of this year for further consultation and finalisation. The Plan must be finalised by the end of this year for publication and implementation from 2019/20 onwards.

It had been agreed that the Plan would be published in three parts. First, would be the High Level Plan, which would be short and succinct, and would highlight key strategies and targets. Secondly, the Full Plan would have clearly articulated strategies and targets for the PSET system. It would include limited background/contextual and technical information. Thirdly, the Technical Report would contain detailed research and references. This would be a much longer document that gave background, the evidence base and argument for choices.

The Plan identifies the goals, objectives and outcomes for PSET; it also describes the implementation strategies, targets and responsibilities for achieving the White Paper vision of an expanded, effective, and integrated PSET system. The Plan formalises work already in progress towards the goals of the White Paper, including the NSDP, which had been fully integrated into the pPlan, and sets out an implementation Plan for 2019 to 2030.

PSET system goals and objectives

Goal one

This goal was to develop an integrated coordinated post-school education and training system. The corresponding outcome was to build a PSET system that was integrated and coordinated to achieve efficiencies and improve effectiveness.

Goal two

This goal was to nurture a stronger and more cooperative relationship between PSET institutions and the workplace. Its outcome was the improved interface between PSET providers and the world of work.

Goal three

This was to expand access to PSET opportunities and contribute to building a fair, equitable, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. Its outcome was to provide diverse students with access to a comprehensive and differentiated range of post-school opportunities.

Goal four

This was to offer post-school education and training that was responsive to the needs of individual citizens, employers in both public and private sectors, as well as to broader societal and developmental objectives. The objective for this was to develop and offer a diverse range of programmes for the development of capable, skilled and educated citizens.

Goal five

This was to improve the quality of provision. Outcome five was to build the capacity of PSET institutions to provide quality education and training.

Goal six

This goal was to improve the success of the PSET system, and its outcome was to improve graduate output and exit outcomes.

In terms of developing a single coordinated PSET system, the Department recognises that there was much to be done. Vital points include:

  • Clarified and streamlined roles, responsibility and accountability of supporting institutions, and quality assurance and regulatory bodies.
  • Qualifications, articulation pathways and quality assurance;
  • Integrated planning;
  • Improvement of the interface between providers and the world of work; and
  • The alignment between legislation and policy.

Regarding the expansion and diversification in the PSET system, this was really focused on the shape and size of the provision in the system. The targets were set by the White Paper and the NDP. The Department had identified the Central Applications Service system to support equitable access, and Career Development Services to enable students to make informed choices. It was also crucial that student fees and accommodation be affordable, and that there was sustainable student financial assistance. In addition to that, there must be strengthened and purposeful institutional differentiation in public institutions -- CET colleges, TVET colleges, higher education (HE) colleges, and universities.

Core proposals -- CET Sub-system

Responsive Community Colleges:

These offered a diverse range of programmes relevant to locality and responsive to the respective community, and a shift in the programmes offered at CET colleges to four types of streams. Skills/occupational programmes which would be relevant to the world of work, community education programmes which were responsive to local needs, general/academic programmes, and foundational learning programmes for the articulation into TVET/HE colleges and universities.

Dr Parker continued to say that key points included the improved quality of community colleges, improved quality of research on CET training, and improved quality assurance. Well managed and governed community colleges with well qualified staff in the system were vital. As well as the improved quality of infrastructure, this meant for the identification of unused or underutilised buildings to be repurposed/refurbished, and infrastructure partnerships with institutions willing to share spaces. It was noted that all colleges needed to have their own physical infrastructure for administration.

Achieving success in community colleges depended on providing students with support, both academically and pyscho-socially. This would enable increased throughput in qualification programmes, successful completion of skills programmes, and improved exit outcomes to articulate with the world of work. In addition, it would be supporting students who succeed in their programmes to articulate to other relevant post-school institutions, and to enter into the world of work, including employment and successful entrepreneurship.

Core proposals -- TVET sub-system

Responsiveness of TVET colleges:

Occupational/vocational programmes would become the mainstay of TVET offerings, and Higher Certificate (level 5) and Advanced Certificate (level 6) programmes would be offered, focused on preparing students for the world of work. Access to workplace opportunities would become a part of occupational qualifications, with the development of some of these with simulated workplace experience where possible, and adequate for the qualifications.

Enrolment planning based on demand data would inform programme offerings, but providers would be allowed to offer occupations that were not on the enrolment planning cycle to respond to employer and student demands in the locality of the college. Analysis of the current Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) would inform the development of policy and guidelines on enrolment planning, and the PQM should be completed for implementation in 2020. Colleges would immediately start developing tracking systems to track students after graduation, and these would also be continuously improved.

She noted the importance of quality in TVET colleges that were well managed and governed, and included well qualified staff. The DHET and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) would develop and implement a strategy for streamlining and reducing external examinations and introduce internal examinations. This strategy would be reviewed and improved continuously.

The Department, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Communication aimed to link all colleges to the South African National Research Network (SANReN) by 2020 to improve campus connectivity. A framework and norms for TVET infrastructure utilisation, sharing, use of funding for capital infrastructure replacement, and the use of private provider infrastructure would be developed. A TVET infrastructure management information system would be in place by 2020. Centres of specialisation would provide training spaces with high-tech equipment that could be accessed for training for specific trades. These centres would be used by other colleges for specific curriculum needs without duplicating what they have in all other colleges. Dr Parker noted the importance of improving the success of TVET colleges and the exit outcomes of students.

Core proposals: HE Sub-system

Again it was vital that there was a diverse range of programmes relevant to locality and responsive to community needs (anchor institutions), the world of work, and the research and innovation system. Three institutional types had been identified in the Act -- universities, university colleges and higher education colleges, but it had not yet been implemented. The distinction between institutional types was based on programme differentiation and regulated through the PQM of institutions; disaggregated into three broad tracks (within public universities): general formative, professional and career-focused programmes. Mandate differentiation steered and monitored through the PQM and enrolment planning process was already in place, though some flexibility would be required to allow institutions to offer programmes outside the scope of their mandate if it was warranted.

The Internationalisation Policy Framework for higher education was to be finalised and implemented as a part of the plan. The DHET was to continue effectively managing outbound scholarship programmes for South African students in line with a range of agreements, and grow the opportunities available, particularly at post-graduate level and also in areas that support the development of academic staffing. Academic exchange programmes would be encouraged and supported where possible. The DHET would also continue to encourage the inclusion of foreign post-graduate students in public universities. The proportion of students from outside South Africa would be monitored through the enrolment planning process and through individual contracts with institutions. It was important that each institution ensured an appropriate balance of local and foreign students at post-graduate level.

Dr Parker went through the importance of improving quality, good management and governance, well qualified staff, improved quality assurance capability, improved quality of infrastructure and the improved quality of research in HE institutions. Funding for post-graduate students needed to improve, which meant an increase in the proportion of postgraduate students receiving state funding and adequate support at Honours, Masters and Doctoral level. She also noted the proposals for success of HE institutions.

Financing and Resourcing

Funding was a key imperative for achieving an expanded, differentiated, coordinated, integrated, effective, efficient and successful PSET system. The key cost drivers were listed as an increase in enrolments, employment of more staff, improvement in staff qualifications, improvements in infrastructure, the increased bed capacity of student accommodation at TVET colleges and universities, and the systematic provision of student support systems.

Financing the Plan would be subject to further interrogation, negotiation and engagement with government. Partnership or collaboration between government and the private sector for financing the system was necessary for successful funding. Funding from the Skills Development Levy would complement funding from the fiscus, and joint up-funding processes were required. There needed to be more efficient use and sharing of available resources and utilisation of appropriate technology, and this would be promoted. The system aimed to work towards sustainable models for financial assistance for students who required support, including partnering with the private sector.

Some of the strategies in the Plan required legislative and policy amendment, for example the simplification of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and the clarification of roles and responsibilities of Quality Control (QC). Once the Plan had been completed and approved, the Department would review its internal structure in line with Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) requirements to ensure that its operations supported the implementation of the National Plan for PSET.

Discussion

Mr A van der Westhuizen (DA) commented that there was no lack of planning, but the challenges would arise with implementation. He asked if it was plausible to expect the system to respond to these further changes of expectations, considering that it had suffered before due to changes. He also asked if the proposed SETA landscape would address the core problems experienced in the sectoral education and training authorities.

Dr B Bozzoli (DA) appreciated the long-term plans for higher education but expressed concern saying the Department was facing urgent problems, such as student protests, that needed to be addressed with short-term plans. In December of 2017 the NSDP draft had been gazetted which had much detail on SETA and its proposed changes, and she asked what this presentation was adding in value.

Ms J Kilian (ANC) sought to know what informed the regrouping of the SETAs and whether the Department had been able to track the success rate with regard to PSET against the NDP and its targeted goals. She asked to what extent the NDP informed the PSET plan.

Mr C Kekana (ANC) commented that the Members’ questions were more or less the same. He asked why outcome two -- the integration between education and the workplace -- had failed in South Africa over the past two decades when first-world countries had managed to accomplish this.

Ms S Mchunu (ANC) referred to the NSDP outcomes, specifically outcome one which speaks of the identification of occupations in high demand, and asked if the Department had assessed the impact of the publication of the list in relation to the programme offerings. Had the Department evaluated the longevity of those skills, given that the fourth industrial revolution was upon South Africa? On the regrouping of the SETAs, had any feasibility study been conducted to determine the viability of this?

The Chairperson said that there was a very interesting section in the NDP that spoke of consensus in education, and asked if everything that had been presented had considered the idea of finding consensus in South African education. On the SETAs, the Committee welcomed the proposal, but sought to know if the regrouping was informed by the current socio-economic problems in the country.

Minister’s response

Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister of Higher Education and Training, thanked the Members for their questions, and said she would leave the work-integrated learning questions for the Deputy Minister to answer, as he had been very involved with that area.

She agreed with the Members that the Department needed to be careful about creating loads of plans which looked good on paper, but there definitely needed to be a look at the system, and where there could be actual support or pressure exerted to achieve the outcomes desired. One of the things she felt was missing from the presentation was the utilisation of research. Some of the goals that had been referred to could not be achieved without making use of research centres to help inform the decisions of planning. The Minister believed that the university sector was ready and could support some of plans made, but far more support work and capacity development was necessary for the TVET and CET systems. These were very ambitious goals, and by no means were those sectors ready for what the Department intended, hence the decision that these would be approached on the basis of piloting. From years of review, the Department had a sense of what needed to happen and it would incrementally work to ensure these targets would be achieved. This was a broad Plan, and what were needed now were phases of implementation.

On the SETA landscape, the Minister had said to the Department that they needed to think more carefully as mergers were not the solution to the challenges confronted in the SETA sector. There were serious issues of governance, with poor regulation, too much independence in determining the use of funding, a need for clearer rules, and the processes of appointment needed addressing.

In terms of the impact of skills by the SETAs, the workplace relationship and the institutions had not been as effective as it could have been. If one looked at some of the SETAs where perhaps there was impact, this was where there had been a very strong role for the private sector. The finance SETA had done quite well and in the wholesale and retail SETAs, there was beginning to be an impact seen and so on. In many, there were very tenuous relationships and a poor skills planning ability. It was her opinion that that the agriculture SETA and food SETA could not be merged, and there were other aspects of regulation that would more adequately address the challenges confronted. Mergers could mean that sectors that did not fit together would get grouped and create unnecessary issues, and that the sectoral skills needs may not be addressed with the attention they required. What had to be done was to ensure appropriate skills, and administration and policy capacity to oversee the colleges delivering the skills that the country needs. Some of the sectoral colleges were currently in a state of dire straits, and needed to be rescued.

Minister Pandor said that there was a real difficulty in the context of higher education, and to some degree all of us as adults must accept responsibility. We had not been as forceful and articulate as we should have been when violence ensued. It had become a standard encounter, and the Minister herself received threatening letters on a weekly basis. This culture had been allowed to develop, and it needed to be confronted and hopefully reversed. The leadership in higher education had a very important role to play and it could not be done by the DHET or Ministry alone. The institutions needed to lead in the creation of a new ethos and culture. With the departure of vice-chancellors, it was not really only about protest or student conduct -- there had been security threats to them and their families.

On infrastructure, through investments there were beginning to be positive developments, but it was necessary that students ensured that they would prize and protect it. She had been disturbed by the allegations of racism informed by black academic staff at universities, and the Committee needed to take a better look at this. If senior black staff at institutions like this were encountering racism, that meant there was a very profound problem that could not be ignored. She would be following this up, but asked that the Committee invite academics and investigate what has been going on.

Much of what the Department did was derived from the NDP. It sets the standard. Some of its targets would be very difficult to achieve because they were very ambitious, and there had been some assumptions on resources that had not been realised in the past few years. There may be a need to go back to the National Planning Commission and question if the DHET should be rethinking, or if there were ways to get the government to provide improved resource support.

Minister Pandor said that there was concern that the University of South Africa (UNISA) had begun to stray away from its core application of distance education, which also needed to have far broader access than it currently had. UNISA had faced pressure from young students accessing the institution who wanted more contact and practical teaching. She had met with the vice-chancellor and said that UNISA must maintain its focus as a distance learning institution and provide an excellent e-learning opportunity, and the DHET would support it in that regard.

She did not feel that the Department was over-planning, but was instead thinking carefully about how to approach the ambitions that were in the White Paper, which had directed the DHET to develop this National Plan. What needed improvement was how this Department linked with what the other departments were doing -- for example, on the number of PhDs, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) had already begun to make some programme advancements and policy adjustments that the DHET should look into.

The interpretation of the National Certificate (Vocational) was more theory than practical, and this approach needed to be changed with regard to artisan training programmes. The greater collaboration with the QCTO and the focus on artisan training was an important shift, as was the centres of specialisation signal that moved much more toward occupation and trades. One of the things that the Minister had noted, as the Department moved into the centres of specialisation and a greater focus on occupation and trades, was that international partners were much keener to assist the TVET sector. There had been greater interest from colleagues in South Korea, Germany and Great Britain resulting in exciting partnerships because of where the TVET was going within the country.

The Minister agreed that the Department needed to make greater use of the data that had been developed and published. It had been agreed that the information and data would be used to help inform the DHET’s programmes, in particular that the prevalence and pervasiveness of technology as implied by the fourth industrial revolution would be something that influenced the decisions on planning and programmes.

On consensus, the Minister said that something she personally believed in, particularly with respect to the university sector, was the achievement of high levels of consensus and social compact as aspired to by the National Development Plan. The Department could not do what the country needed in terms of skills without partnerships. Not enough had been taken into account with the proposal of the new SETA landscape, and the DHET would go back to look into this before coming back to report to the Committee.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister for her response, and opened the floor to the Committee for a second round of questions.

Discussion

Mr Van der Westhuizen referred to the general perception of the underperformance of SETAs, and asked what the Deputy Minister believed to be the core problem behind the employers not investing enough in the training of their employees.

Mr M Wolmarans (ANC) referred to the proposed SETA landscape, where there were changes up until the fifth proposed SETA and the rest remained untouched. The presentation had said that this was ready to be gazetted in a day or two, but Minister Pandor had not fully supported this, and he asked if this would be put on pause. He understood that the one reason why it had been put forward in this way was the dysfunctionality of some SETAs, and that the Department was trying to match the SETAs to optimise their functionality and use of resources. He asked if there was an inclusion in the Plan to actually deal with the capacitation of the other SETAS and what needed still to be done.

Mr Kekana said that he found the point of aligning the programmes and curricula at TVETs to the demands of skills needs and the communities to be quite important. How would it be monitored and ensured in rural communities that the colleges offered the programmes according to this?

Dr Bozzoli referred to the NSDP institutional arrangement, and said that it had been the Department’s experience that there had been slight improvement and then a deterioration in the governance. She asked for clarity on the envisaged regulations to determine the DHET’s role and oversight over the SETAs. There have been instances in the past where some of the Boards had challenged the Department. Would it be the role of the National Skills Authority to monitor the output of artisan training, etc?

The Chairperson asked what the rush was to gazette the proposed SETA landscape.

Deputy Minister’s response

Mr Buti Manamela, Deputy Minister, first addressed the matter of work-integrated learning. He said that the Department was concerned about the extent to which the private sector had taken up and hosted learners to be able to complete the practical component of their training. There were various interventions for this, such as building institutional capacity so that institutions could simulate the workplace, centres of specialisation, the youth employment service, which would be a part of the campaign to get learners integrated into workplaces as a part of learning, and there was also the work that some institutions and SETAs were doing to place learners in workplaces for learning as a part of the partnerships with industry. Last month, the Department had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gauteng Provincial Department of Infrastructure Development, where some of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) participants would be given the opportunity to enter TVET colleges and also place graduates from TVET colleges in workplaces and within companies with which there were partnerships. He believed that this would be a good pilot to see how far this would go and see expanded on a national scale.

He fully agreed with Mr Kekana that there needed to be more and more of the occupational trade programmes offered by TVET colleges through the National Skills Fund, and said there had been more than R2 billion allocated for the TVET colleges to drive such training programmes.

Regarding the SETAs and the role of the private sector, the Department’s interest would be to see that all stakeholders were involved in the full operation of the SETAs. In instances where there were a lot of employers, like in the agriculture sector, there were obviously a lot of challenges but the Department would still like to see all of the stakeholders actively involved in ensuring that all workers could receive education and training services. One of the things identified in the NSDP was the question of worker-initiated and workplace-initiated training in those instances.

The Chairperson asked that the Committee elect an Acting Chairperson for the following week, as she had been invited to attend meetings outside of the country. The Committee elected Mr Kekana as Acting Chairperson.

The meeting was adjourned.

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