Presenting the budget vote for the Department of Higher Education and Training on Friday, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Blade Nzimande announced that the National Plan for Post-School Education and Training (NPPSET) has been completed and will soon be released to give practical planning effect to the policy goals and objectives of the post-school system.
This follows the adoption of the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (PSET) in 2016, which sets out strategies to expand on the current delivery of education and training in South Africa for the period up to 2030.
The paper sets out a broad policy for expanding post-school provision to improve access to education and training opportunities and strengthen the institutions of post-schooling, of Further Education and Training Colleges, universities, colleges and adult education centres to improve the quality of education.
NPPSET is a consolidated roadmap for a more integrated, transformed, articulated and effective post-school system.
Nzimande welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s focus on a national spatial development strategy based on systematic and planning around the 44 District Municipalities and eight metros of the country.
“We aim to ensure that within the next 10 years there is no district municipality that will not have access to a post-school training institution. This, in my view, would be a major development in the struggle to overcome the spatial legacies of under-development inherited from the apartheid and colonial system," said Nzimande.
The department has also approved the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training to build an expanded, effective and integrated Post-School system.
He said the Ministerial Task Team on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) established by the department’s former Minister would provide critical policy advice on how the PSET system should respond to opportunities and challenges presented by the 4IR, “particularly on issues relating to curriculum development, science and innovation”.
"Its output will also be a crucial input into the work of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution presided over by President Ramaphosa."
As this work is underway, the Minister noted that the department is already developing a Skills Master Plan in response to the known skills demands associated with the 4IR.
The master plan will be complemented by a national list of Occupations in High Demand and the Critical Skills List.
Sector Education and Training Authority implementation
On Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) Landscape, the Minister announced that the new SETA landscape will be implemented from 1 April 2020, with an aim to strengthen, realign and repurpose the SETA system.
He said artisan skills development remains a top priority, whilst “we have to rapidly expand workplace-based learning through learnerships, work-integrated learning and internships”.
"The recently launched Centres of Specialisation (CoS) pilot is being prioritized for the training of 780 youth in artisan skills and will assist 26 Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college campuses to improve their capacity to develop artisans with industry partners in 13 priority trades/occupations.
"Through the National Skills Fund, we have made available R150 million to upgrade workshops at TVET colleges to meet industry requirements. The SETAs also ensured that all participating employers in the Centres of Specialisation programme received a discretionary grant," the Minister reported.
Whilst the department acknowledges that a lot has been done to transform the higher education system demography, Nzimande reiterated a need and urgency to significantly accelerate transformation in the racial and gender profile of academic and research communities.
"I will shortly be receiving a report on what the obstacles are in the production of black and women South African academics in our institutions, and how to overcome such obstacles," said Nzimande.
GBV policy framework
Meanwhile, Nzimande announced that a draft policy framework dealing with Gender-Based Violence (GBV) for the PSET system is being taken through the department’s processes, and will be finalised during the course of the 2019/20 financial year.
Developed in 2017, through the Higher Education and Training HIV and AIDS (HEAIDS) Programme, the policy framework aims to create an enabling environment for the eradication of GBV, instil respect, protection, promotion and the fulfilment of human rights, as enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
It will compel all institutions of higher learning and training to create awareness of GBV policies and prevent incidents of GBV, as well as to assist PSET institutions to address the occurrence of GBV.
It will also provide a monitoring instrument to the department to assess the implementation of the policy framework.
Department's budget appropriation for the 2019/20 is as follows:
• University education -- R59,250,157 billion
• TVET -- R10,727,339 billion
• Skills development -- R264 489 million
• Community education -- R2,355,597 billion
• Planning, policy and strategy -- R79,904 million
• Administration -- R446,587 million
• Total -- R73,124,073 billion