Minister Dr Nzimande's Clarion Call For Collaborative Skills Training


Higher Education and Training minister, Dr Blade Nzimande foresees progressive skills reforms with a new approach to Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) colleges in South Africa.

Nzimande addressed delegates from many sectors at the TVET conference held in Midrand and suitably themed: Together Forging a Vibrant Technical and Vocational Education and Training System in South Africa.

“Aligning our colleges and their programmes to the world of work is no longer negotiable. This means colleges and employers must collaborate for the prospering of individual citizens as well as the economy,” said Nzimande.

The minister emphasized the importance of TVET colleges in skills development for economic progress.

“The new approach to colleges is much more than a name change for former FET (Further Education and Training) colleges, it signals the beginning of a whole new era for colleges in the development of the country’s post-school  education and training system.” 

“The name change aligns us well with international practice. It also signals the integrating of formal education with practical training and aligning these to the requirements of occupations,” added Nzimande.

The minister called on business and industry to collaborate with education and training sectors and similarly urged TVET colleges to build strong links with business and industry.

“The critical change the higher education ministry seeks is that link to business and industry. I want colleges to be viewed by employers as delivering quality programmes that meet their needs,”  

Nzimande emphasised that educational institutions will always have the social responsibility of developing of our youth into responsible citizens. “This must remain at the centre of the ethos of our colleges,” he said.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has placed heavy emphasis on strengthening the TVET sector. Stabilising systems, moving the sector from a provincial to a national competence, driving articulation, expanding access and making provision for poor students form the basis of the turnaround of this sector.  

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has increased provision for the sector from R318 million in 2009 to R2 billion in 2014. Access has increased from 340,000 students in 2009 to over 800,000 students in 2014. 

Nzimande also encouraged colleges to diversify and develop niche areas of excellence in partnering with business and industry to build workplace skills in South Africa. 

Photo caption: DHET Minister Dr Blade Nzimande and the department's Director-General Gwebinkudla Qonde.