Question NW1525 to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

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27 November 2019 - NW1525

Profile picture: Spies, Ms ERJ

Spies, Ms ERJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology

(1)(a) Why has the content in textbooks and the course structures for both the National Accredited Technical Diploma and the National Vocational Certificate (NCV) not been reviewed and revised for more than 20 years to address the needs of the current economy and its impact on the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the syllabus and (b) what are the plans going forward to remedy the situation; (2) whether there are there any plans in place to review the Life Skills component in the Life Orientation course for NCV and make it focus on computer skills and readiness for the world of work?


(1)(a) The Department has constantly upon request by industry partners’ revised curricula over the years in the National Certificate (Vocational) [NC (V)] and lately in the National Accredited Technical Diploma/Report 191 programmes. In the NC (V) programmes, e.g. Electrical Infrastructure and Construction (EIC) and Information Technology and Computer Science (IT&CS), revisions have been conducted and implemented on a phase-in by phase-out process. Other reviewed programmes and subjects include Safety in Society, Mathematics and Office Data Processing (ODP), which were revised on request from the security cluster, especially the South African Police Service with which the Department has a Memorandum of Understanding.

Through the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation, six subjects in finance and accounting, public administration, municipal administration, labour relations, travel office procedure and mercantile law where revised in the Report 191/NATED programmes. This was followed in 2018 by a review of Management Communication and Communication N4 curriculum. The review of a curriculum will naturally prompt the review of student textbooks, which results in the screening of textbooks and annual updating of the Department’s national textbook catalogue.

(b) In 2018, the Department identified and prioritised Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college programmes that required immediate curriculum review and update, in line with the current needs of industry and the changing digital skills needs of the economy. Curriculum Support Teams, which comprise of lecturers who are subject experts and industry stakeholders, were established to undertake reviews of specific programmes in the following fields, i.e. Information Technology (IT) and Computer Science (National Certificate (Vocational)), Business Studies (NATED), Mechanical Engineering (NATED), Mechano-Technics (NATED) and Hospitality and Tourism (NATED). In some instances, partnerships were established with industry role players such as the Cisco Networking Academy to enhance the quality of the new curricula.

The Department has also worked with the IT Faculty at the Tshwane University of Technology to develop a Robotics specialisation in the IT and Computer Science National Certificate (Vocational) programme. The reviews and updates are complete and the textbooks on the revised curricula have been commissioned and evaluated. The revised curricula will be implemented in 2021.

Of the 38 subjects that were prioritised in the NATED curricula, 22 have been reviewed and updated, and are currently undergoing a quality assurance process. The remaining 16 are in the final stages of curriculum review with Curriculum Support Teams. The revised curricula of the 38 NATED subjects are envisaged to be phased in during 2021 and 2022.

The opening of 26 Centres of Specialisation at 19 TVET colleges have ensured that TVET colleges are starting to address the demand for priority trades required by the economy and needed for implementation of government’s National Development Plan in general and national infrastructure plan more in particular. There are 797 apprentices currently being trained as artisans in 13 selected priority trades.

The Department has also commissioned research in the areas of curriculum relevance and responsiveness, as well as partnerships between TVET colleges and the world of work. These studies will provide data that will assist in enhancing the responsiveness of TVET programmes to the needs of industry and the South African economy.

(2) The Department and Cisco have a partnership to collaborate in reviewing and updating the ICT related TVET curricula through the Cisco Networking Academy. Life Orientation in the NC (V) programme has two components, i.e. Life Skills and ICT (Computer) Skills. In partnership with Cisco, the Department has mapped and matched the ICT Skills curriculum with the Cisco Network Academy curriculum. From 2020, the mapped curriculum, which has been aligned with latest ICT developments required for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, will be offered at TVET colleges as part of Life Orientation with lecturer training starting in January/February 2020. Students completing an NC (V) Level 2 certificate with Life Orientation will also receive a Cisco Networking Academy accredited certificate on the latest ICT developments in areas such as Get Connected, Introduction to Internet of Things, and Introduction to Cybersecurity. Furthermore, TVET colleges are currently registering as Cisco Network Academy Centres for the purpose of lecturer training and the implementation of the programme.

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