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The Higher Education, Science and Innovation Ministry has established entrepreneurship hubs at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to support students to move into self-employment after the completion of programmes.

Higher Education, Science and Innovation minister, Blade Nzimande, revealed this in Parliament on Thursday while delivering the department’s 2022 Budget Vote.

This forms a part of the government’s overall strategy to train young South Africans and develop skills in areas that are needed by the economy. The strategy stretches from basic education all the way to tertiary learning.

In basic education, a host of new subjects has been added to the school curriculum over the last five years to meet this strategy, with tech-led subjects like robotics and coding expected to be added in the coming year.

Some new subjects include:

  • Art and design

  • Agricultural studies

  • Ancilliary healthcare

  • Aquaponics

  • Aviation studies

  • Civil technology

  • Consumer studies8. Digital technology

  • Early childhood development

  • Electrical technology

  • Hospitality studies

  • Maritime sciences

  • Maintenance and upholstery

  • Mechanical technology

  • Personal care

  • Technical mathematics

  • Technical sciences

  • Wholesale and retail

In addition to this, the department is looking to introduce a new General Education Certificate (GEC), which is being piloted by select schools in 2022, with plans to roll out the certificate to all schools in the country by the 2024 school year.

The GEC is intended to give learners recognition of their accomplishments at the end of grade 9, to allow for them to move into vocational training. The Department of Basic Education has stressed that it is not a school-leaving certificate, but rather a certificate for further training.

Higher education minister Nzimande on Thursday (12 May) unpacked how the government’s vocational strategy will continue in the tertiary education sector.

Vocational training

In the current financial year, the minister said the department projected that the skills levy would increase to R20.6 billion from last year’s R18.9 billion.

Nzimande said the department had also taken the decision to prioritise the sector by re-allocating additional funds from the National Skills Fund.

“We have begun a process of crafting one country, one skills plan – a Master Skills Plan. This process will promote a more efficient and effective mechanism for our country-wide skills planning.

“As part of my service level agreement with the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), they will incorporate government priorities – especially those that address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality as captured in the National Development Plan – in their Sector Skills Plans.”

These would therefore develop their Annual Performance Plans (APPs) to address skills challenges in various sectors of the economy and country in general.

Both university and TVET college curricula are being reviewed and strengthened to be relevant to the skills required by local employers, communities and the economy.

The minister said SETAs would process qualifying trade test applications within 40 days of receipt for trade testing and develop credible Sector Skills Plans. SETAs would in this regard produce reports on the implementation of the Skills Strategy.

“To further ensure the rapid skilling and training of our youth, particularly those in rural and townships, we are going to focus our attention to their training in areas such as agriculture and information and communication technologies,” he said.

“Our SETAs will be supporting my Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) in the development of critical high-end skills in selected technology areas such as the bioeconomy, space science, technology energy, intellectual property management.”

During the 2022/23 financial year, the ministry will increase its work-based learning programmes from 78,317 to 107,000.

“We will also Increase our learners registered in skills development programmes from 43,885 in 2020/21 to 148,000 in 2022/23 and increase our learners entering artisanal programmes from 10,302 in 2020/21 to 22,000 in 2022/23.”

The ministry anticipates that 20,500 learners will pass the artisan trade test in 2022/23, a 5,000 increase from the last financial year.

Learners who complete learnerships will also increase from 24,136 in 2020/21 to 31,300 in this financial year, while learners who complete internships would stabilise at 5,200.

The SETAs combined placed 44,619 unemployed people into learnerships, of which over 34,710 were youths below 35. Over 25,550 of these were female.

In the previous financial year, SETAs placed 9,901 interns, of which 9,096 were young people below the age of 35 years old and 6,455 were females. The SETAs spent just over R883 million in this regard.

For TVET placement, SETAs placed about 8,539 learners, with 5,656 being females at a total cost of R393 million.

For university placement, SETAs placed 5,183 learners in workplaces at the value of R300 million.



Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER

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