SA News | 6 February 2023
Picture - iStock
Big plans to address vocational and artisan skills shortages.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube has outlined the provincial government’s plans to convert schools with dwindling enrolment numbers into vocational skills centres.
Dube-Ncube was speaking during school monitoring visits in Umbumbulu in the Umlazi district.
Dwindling enrolment numbers
Dube-Ncube is leading the provincial back-to-school monitoring programme to assess progress since the start of the 2023 academic calendar.
The visits started on Wednesday and conclude today. During Wednesday’s visits, issues related to the viability of schools with dwindling enrolment numbers came into focus.
Dube-Ncube, accompanied by members of the provincial legislature and officials from the education department, visited Ekudeyeni Primary School and Emadundube Primary School in Umbumbulu.
They were armed with check lists to evaluate the schools’ enrolment capacity, attendance of pupils and teachers, school nutrition programme, delivery of pupils’ support material and the school governing bodies’ involvement.
Dube-Ncube heard that there are approximately three million pupils enrolled in over 6 000 schools in the province for the 2023 academic year.
Plans to address the skills shortage
Dube-Ncube said the provincial government is discussing with the departments of education and higher learning and training the possibility of converting some of the schools with good infrastructure into vocational skills centres to address the shortage of technical skills.
‘Some of the schools that have good infrastructure but are unused or have been closed because of dwindling enrolment numbers must be converted into vocational skills centres to address the shortage of technical skills that we need as a country to develop.
‘The skills training required includes artisans, plumbers, electricians, construction and carpentry, so that the youth in townships and rural are as can be equipped with skills to start their own businesses,” Dube-Ncube said.
Dube-Ncube also expressed concern over reports of theft and vandalism at schools and called on the community to protect school assets and buildings from vandalism, theft and destruction.
‘The safety and security of teachers, schoolchildren and property are the responsibility of communities who must work with law enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to book.
‘We cannot afford to keep replacing vandalised infrastructure when we should be building libraries and laboratories, so that we equip [pupils] with the requisite skills for the digital economy,” Dube-Ncube said.
‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.