Minister Nzimande chairing international discussion on role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training
14 May 2012
Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B.E. Nzimande today chaired a Round Table discussion on the role of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in middle-income countries at UNESCO’s Third International Congress on TVET in Shanghai.
Minister Nzimande is leading a high-level nine member South African delegation to the Congress, which includes senior officials of his Department and representatives of the National Skills Authority (NSA), the Quality Council on Trades and Occupations (QCTO), the Mining Qualifications Authority and the Education Policy Unit of Wits University.
The Congress is taking place from 13 to 16 May 2012.
“The significance of the conference for developing countries is that it comes at a time when TVET is becoming more central to our development agendas. South Africa perfectly reflects this trend with recently developed policies that emphasise the strengthening of the effectiveness of FET colleges and SETAs, reinvigorating artisan training, and building partnerships between educational institutions and employers,” Minister Nzimande said.
The Minister said that many middle-income countries were primarily producers of minerals and agricultural raw materials, but to develop further, they needed to beneficiate their raw materials and develop their manufacturing and other key industries. This required the growth of technical and vocational skills among their workers.
"Technical and vocational education is essential to developing the SA economy and making the New Growth Path a reality. If we are to turn around the decline of our manufacturing industries and boost the hospitality and other service industries, then our people must develop the necessary skills.
“The quest for decent work in SA will only be possible and sustainable if we develop a skilled workforce. This will strengthen the working class and make workers less expendable and more central to further economic development,” Minister Nzimande said.
He said large informal economies in poor and middle income countries should not be ignored by governments, but should rather be assisted by various means, which would include training. “This will help to make them more productive and assist in bringing them into the formal economy,” he said.
“TVET policies should be related to economic development policies in general as well as to industrial and other related sectors’ policies. However, TVET should not be narrowly occupationally focussed, but should include significant elements of social studies and ethics,” the Minister said.
South Africa, Brazil, Kenya, Palestine and Turkey shared their experiences at the Round Table discussion the Minister chaired.
The UNESCO Congress is discussing a wide range of TVET issues which include promoting the attractiveness of TVET, teaching and learning strategies, promoting social equity through TVET, skills development for rural transformation and the governance and financing of TVET.
Previous UNESCO TVET conferences took place in Berlin in 1984 and Seoul in 1999.
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Issued by: Department of Higher Education and Training
14 May 2012
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