The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) is focusing on the development of the TVET and community college sectors as the ideal institutions to address the South African economy’s dire need for technical and vocational skills.
DHET took over the management of the 50 TVET colleges countrywide in 2015 and also absorbed all adult education and training facilities into nine community colleges, one in each province.
These shifts of function have expanded DHET to become one of the largest state departments in the country.
The work around the construction of 12 additional TVET campuses is on track.
This will facilitate the absorption of many more people, especially the youth, into the TVET sector.
Government has identified the expansion of the TVET sector as a national priority in the post-school education and training system. The high demand for artisans and skilled workers by the economy has necessitated the re-prioritisation of the sector in order to meet South Africa’s future targets.
One of the key strategic goals for DHET, as set out in the White Paper for Post-school Education and Training and in the National Development Vision 2030, is to increase access to education and training opportunities for the youth.
Since 1994, there has been no consistent, coordinated investment in the expansion of the TVET college sub-system.
The establishment of the 12 new TVET college campuses and the refurbishment of two existing campuses, is aimed at putting in place a standard for expansion.
A particular focus is on improving access in regions which have a high poverty index and in which there is inadequate or no provision of education and training.
According to the White Paper for Post-school Education and Training, the TVET infrastructure expansion programme aims to expand the TVET college system by providing quality teaching and learning infrastructure.
This infrastructure will have a multi-purpose capacity for offering a mix of qualifications and programmes specifically relevant to, and within each, affected local municipality.
The process of prioritising the establishment and refurbishment of TVET colleges was conducted with due consideration of the Human Sciences Research Council research of 2006.
Across the world, countries are unanimous in their opinion that technical vocational education and training is the foundation of any economy.
Countries with leading economies maintain that their citizens should first acquire a technical vocational education and training and only thereafter pursue a higher education if they wish. In a developing country such as South Africa, this is an even greater need.
TVET colleges, which have more than 264 campuses across South Africa with more currently under construction, are easily accessible and affordable.
There is also financial assistance in the form of National Student Financial Aid Scheme bursaries which are available for TVET College students who meet the criteria.
TVET colleges are quality education and training providers who are geared to meet the needs of the economy. Unlike most other education institutions, TVET colleges have multiple intakes of new students throughout the year for particular courses.
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