Skills Development Bill & Education And Training Bill: briefing

Basic Education

04 August 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

4 AUGUST 1998

Chaired by Mr R van den Heever

Document handed out:
The Complementary of the Further Education and Training (FET) Policy Framework of the Department of Education and the Skills Development Strategy (SDS) of the Department of Labour in Education and Training

Comparison between the two Bills:
1) the Education and Training Bill and
2) the Skills Development Bill

The Chairperson stated that the main question to be answered in the meeting is, how is it possible to coordinate the above components (1 and 2 ) especially since they are run by different departments, i.e. the Education and Training Bill by the Education Department and the Skills Development Bill by the Department of Labour. Two departmental officials, gave a briefing on the Bills and answered questions by the committee members.

Dr I Rensburg of the Education Department official based his briefing on the document, The Complementary of the Further Education and Training (FET) Policy Framework of the Department of Education and the Skills Development Strategy (SDS) of the Department of Labour in Education and Training document. Most of the time he read directly from the document.

He said that the two departments (Education and Training and Labour) are working together to develop human resource strategy. The focus now is not only on Education and Training but on personal and community development and on economic growth.

The Department of Labour official, Ms A Bird, gave a broad overview of Skills Development Strategy.
She said the purpose of this Bill is:
- to improve the lives of the community in particular employees and
- to encourage workers to take up opportunities and use the working place as a learning environment.

The above will be achieved through the establishment of a National Skills Authority whose function is:
-to advise the Minister of Labour on skills and
-to monitor implementation
The National Skills Authority is not an executive structure.

Ms Bird said that the function of a sector is to come up with a Sector Education and Training Strategy, eg. the Department of Transport will look at skills constraints, design learnerships, liaise with National Skills Authority to convey information about the sector for the benefit of the society.

She then defined learnership as a new form of entrepreneurship with learning programmes that must include working experience. She said this learnership should culminate in a profession/qualification.

Funding of the Skills Development Strategy (SDS)
She mentioned that there is a National Skills Fund that has been put into place to address national priorities:
The fund is to help to:
1) provide education and training to unemployed people
2) provide special incentives to encourage small employers
3) retrain retrenched workers and
4) support education and training - eg industrial development strategies

The main key is the cooperation between the two departments.

Two graphs were shown on the overhead projector. One graph showed the relationship between companies with their learners eg. students and the national government, local government, departments, funders and institutions; and the other graph was showing what is happening on the labour side versus the intervention of the government - which is the supply side.

Questions by committee members:
Committee members asked Dr Rensburg to elaborate on FET, SDS, and on Curriculum 2005. She also asked if they have any ability to manage these structures.
Dr Rensburg said that the FET Bill integrates education and training. He also mentioned that the two Bills - FET and SDS provide the first steps for development. He said they seek to bring integrated educational system through the two ministries - Education and Labour. He said Curriculum 2005 was designed to be responsive. It is a shift from talk to an outcome-based education which incorporates skills, knowledge and development. He said the relationship which exists between FET and SDS is very critical.

The second question asked was about the coordination that exists between FET and SDS. This question is also answered above

The third question asked was directed to the Department of Labour. He said he is not sure of the agencies that are supposed to make a contribution towards the funding for the SDS and FET.

Ms Bird responded by saying that there are different bodies and she would like to specify their agenda then answer the question. The main task of the National Skills Authority (NSA) is to deal with issues that have to do with signals coming from the labour market and to work with those signals. SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) will replace existing training bodies. It will be constituted mainly by employees and departments.
SETA is described in Clause 10 of the bill.
NSF - described in Clause 27 of the bill
Every SETA will contribute 20% towards NSF for implementation of FET and SDS.
Other money will come from interest and contribution of companies that do not belong to SETAs and also through levying.

Prof. Mohamed (ANC) asked three questions.
1) He asked if the representation in NSF and NSA was effective. He said that if representation is not good then there will not be good coordination
2) He asked how is the money going to be charged and collected
from business
3) He said the issues of poverty and unemployment in rural areas is missing in the bill, he asked why.

Mr Modise (NP) said that they support the principle. He said that skills are very important in any working situation.

Mr George, (NP) said that they are faced with major challenges. He said that people must not only be educated but must be trained as well.

Ms Nzimande (IFP) asked why are artistic skills not included in the debate. Are they not relevant.

Miss Birds answered the question from Prof. Mohamed.
She said that the Department of Education and Training will have a seat in the NSF and FET. There is also another constituent group called Education and Training Providers.
About how the money will be collected she said the money will be collected centrally by the South African Revenue Services. She said there is no national collection agency that has been set up for this purpose to collect the skills levy. They can use the existing agencies to do this job.

Concerning rural areas she said this is a challenging and complex issue. She said education and training alone cannot relieve poverty but have to be aligned with other programmes. An agricultural SETA is envisaged. This SETA will look at agricultural development in rural areas. There will be subcommittees to monitor progress. Ms Bird said that agriculture alone is not enough. Different SETAs should become involved to identify skills needs and to communicate with the departments.

About implementation she said there is already an implementation plan in place and they will work very hard to ensure progress and success.

About the arts, she said it will be recommended that it be included into the scheme.

Dr Rensburg concluded by saying that the identification of research councils is a critical element. They support research work in economic and industrial areas. He also said that FET is a twenty year vision and it is critical to focus on the first five years.

The chairperson concluded the meeting by saying that the Ministers of Education and Training and of Labour will meet on these issues
He announced a meeting to be held next week: 12/08/98 at 11:00am.


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