As from April 2011, Vuk’uzenzele has taken on new look and will be published every month instead of every second month. Instead of its former A4 format, the printed version of Vuk’uzenzele is now published as a tabloid newspaper. It will still be full of news and advice on socio-economic opportunities created by government, and how to access these opportunities.
Government has committed itself to making a difference in the lives of people by addressing five key priority areas. They are education, safety and security, health, job creation and rural development.
Each issue of Vuk’uzenzele will carry information and news about government’s programmes relating to these priorities. It will include a special four-page supplement, called Employment News, which will address matters relating to job creation, careers and skills development. Among other things, it will also feature news on youth matters, international relations, events, advice and sport and recreation.
It has a print run of 1,7 million copies, which are distributed in all nine provinces, in large part door-to-door in deep rural, rural and peri-urban areas. It is published in all official languages, but the majority of the print-run is in English. It is also published in Braille for the visually impaired.
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Government has released a Green Paper, which will ensure that post-school education and training represents the needs of employers.
Speaking at the launch of the Green Paper for Post-School Education and Training, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said government, through the Green Paper, intended to enrol more than 4,5 million students a year at universities, colleges and other post-school training institutions.
The Green Paper proposes that university enrolment be increased from the present 900 000 to 1,5 million by 2030. In addition, the Green Paper also put more emphasis on the role played by the Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.
“The key area of focus for expansion must be the public FET college sector. Strengthening and then expanding the colleges will play a central role in building a larger and more vibrant college sector,” said Minister Nzimande.
The FET colleges have to become the institution of choice for school-leavers. In terms of the Green Paper, these institutions must link students with workplace opportunities.
The Green Paper seeks to change the post-school education and training sector by aligning it with the country’s overall development agenda, says Minister Nzimande.
He added that this will be done through linking the post-school education and training sector to different development plans such as the New Growth Path, the Industrial Policy Action Plan 2, Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa 2010 to 2030 as well as the country’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan.
“This will allow the department to contribute effectively to the goal of inclusive economic growth and development and to reduce unemployment and poverty,” said Minister Nzimande.
The Green Paper sets out a broad policy to build a post-school education and training system that is equal, accessible and affordable to all sections of the population including free education and training for the poor.
According to Minister Nzimande, almost three million young people aged between 18 and 24 are not accommodated in either the education and training system or the labour market.
The Higher Education and Training Minister says this has prevented many of these young people from fully participating in shaping a democratic South Africa as informed citizens.
“This is an appalling waste of human potential and a potential source of serious social instability,” warns Minister Nzimande.
The Green Paper also sets out the critical role that will be played by the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in providing training in the form of learnerships and apprenticeships to young people who have finished school.
“The SETAs have a key role to play in strengthening vocational education and skills training. This will include funding partnerships between educational institutions and employers,” said Minister Nzimande.
He added that the SETAs will promote the revival of the artisan training system as well as building connections between theoretical education in colleges and universities on the one hand and practical workplace experience on the other.”
This, added Minister Nzimande, will build on the National Skills Accord in which government, business, and labour have committed to increase the numbers of apprenticeships, learnerships and internships.
“The SOEs will play a central role in this regard. Their training activities will be revived to reverse the decline since the mid-80s when they became commercialised and privatised.”
In addition to SETAs and SOEs, according to Minister Nzimande, government departments and agencies as well as municipalities will be expected to increase their intake of different types of trainees who are either studying or have recently completed their studies.
“All major government infrastructure programmes will be expected to take on trainees in order to develop the country’s skills base.”
Minister Nzimande has also called on employers to participate in providing learnerships, apprenticeships and internships opportunities, instead of complaining that tertiary institutions are not providing employable workers.
The public has until 30 April to submit their comments on the Green Paper for Post-School Education and Training.