Highlights from the White Paper

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By Assessment College

The White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, launched by the
Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande on 15 January 2014,
positions Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as the
institutions where scarce and critical skills will be developed, which is urgently
needed for South Africa?s economic development.

The vision of the White Paper is a single, integrated post-school system with
a focus on collaboration between the institutions. Artisan training will become
the centre of South Africa?s post-school training.

Here are some of the highlights of the White Paper:

? FET colleges will undergo a name change to Technical and
Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges

Further Education and Training (FET) colleges have been renamed Technical and
Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
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? TVET colleges will have a drastic increase in student intake

The White Paper envisages expanding enrolments at the TVET colleges from 650
000 currently to 2,5million by 2030. This four-fold increase of numbers in the
college sector by 2030 will require huge infrastructural and human resource
development. By 2030 there should be at least one institution offering TVET
programmes in every district within the country.
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? TVET colleges and universities need to develop scarce skills
The focus of the White Paper is on prioritising the production of critical skills in
order to lift South Africa out of the current scarce skills shortage crisis that it is
facing.
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? Complete review of college curricula

The white paper reads, "the current mix of programmes and qualifications within
FET colleges is complex to administer, difficult for students and parents to
understand and often poorly quality-assured?.Itannounces a complete review of
college curricula, with the aim of consolidating and streamlining it.
Relevant employers, government departments and other stakeholders will be
invited to take part in this review. The paper states that the private sector will
have the opportunity to give advice to the colleges on the issue of curricula.

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? Monitor the quality of education in colleges

The Quality Councils will assure the quality of assessments, and the new South
African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (SAIVCET)
will fulfil a developmental, monitoring and evaluation role. SAIVCET will co-
ordinate training in order to enhance coherence and articulation, while
upgrading the technical knowledge and pedagogical skills of existing staff.
Quality Councils, including Umalusi, will be given more flexibility to quality assure
qualifications on NQF levels from which they were previously restricted.

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? Alignment between universities, Technical and Vocational
Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and Sector Education and Training
Authorities (SETAs)

The White Paper states that within the next few years, there will be an
improvement in the alignment between universities, Technical and Vocational
Education and Training (TVET) Colleges and Sector Education and Training
Authorities (SETAs) in an effort to improve student and learner mobility across
sectors. The envisaged system will need to provide paths for articulation
between various qualifications.
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? Establishing an effective artisan training system

The development of a centralised national skills planning system will use input
from key public sector institutions to be able to establish an effective artisan
training system. One that will be able to produce 30 000 artisans by 2030.

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? Developing Community Collegesand Public Adult Learning
Centres (PALCs)

The White Paper introduces a new type of institution in the form of
community colleges. These will bepredominantly aimed at the youth and adults
who have not completed Grade 12, as well asfor those who have never
attended formal school. The community collegeswill build on existing public adult
learning centres and will work together with community-owned and private
institutions, such as church-run training centres.

The development of the community colleges and integrating them with Public
Adult Learning Centres (PALCs), will assist in facilitating adults who have not
completed schooling, and/or did not qualify to study at TVET colleges or
universities.

The aim is to enrol approximately one million people for learning
opportunities at community colleges by 2030. All qualifications at PALCs will
comply with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) requirements and the
National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

? Improved access, quality and cost-effectiveness of post-
school
distance education

The diversity of provision, based on open learning principles, is described in the
White Paper as "a strategic enabler to improving learning opportunities across
the post-school education and training sector. The providers will need to engage
and collaborate in sharing infrastructure, learning resources and staff capacity,
to contribute to improved access, quality and cost-effectiveness of distance
education.? The White Paper encourages groups of institutions establishing
multi-purpose educational facilities to facilitate mixed-mode
arrangements.Further, the post-school distance education landscape will be
based on open learning principles.
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? TVET colleges to cater for students and staff with
disabilities

Developing a policy framework twill strive to improve access and success within
post-school education and training for people with disabilities. TVET colleges in
particular currently lack the capacity to cater for students and staff with
disabilities.
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A strategic policy framework is necessary in order to guide the improvement of
access to, and success in, post-school education and training (including in
private institutions) for people with disabilities.
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? Integrate Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) into the post-
school education and training system

The White Paper promotes the integration of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
into the post-school education and training system. Such recognition must not
be ad hoc, but must rather form an integral part of the whole system.

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? Universities to focus on scarce skills and research

The White Paper envisages a more modest, but still significant, increase in
the planned intake at universities. Universitieswill be expected to enrol 1,6
million students in 2030, from 937 000 students in 2011. This plan increases
university access from a current 17 percentto 25 percent of prospective
students.
Minister Blade Nzimande also stated at the launch of the White Paper that South
Africa needs outstanding researchers that are capable of producing ground-
breaking work. This is where universities, regarded as centres of knowledge
production, are crucial.

Universities will target the growth of scarce skills, while continuing to provide
general academic education, in the natural sciences and humanities.
The current tertiary education system does not cater for the needs of the
country?s economy. The White Paper hopes to address these issues relating to
skills shortages.

The paper specifies the following strategies across the sector:

? Improving the management and governance of training and vocational
education and training(TVET) colleges.
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? Increasing employers input into curriculum development at all levels.

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? Enabling the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to play an
important role in promoting and facilitating links between colleges and employers
in order to expand learnership and internship opportunities.
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? Committing to progressively introducing free education for the poor in South
African universities.
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? Reviewing the regulation and quality assurance of private post-school
institutions.
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? The role of the public sector and business in the initiative to broaden
further education
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The White Paper plans to link education and the workplace through the
design of training systems, including curricula. Thiswill require close co-operation
between education and training providers and employers. The policy makes
provision for the private sector to play its part,through training unskilled people
in different fields, and emphasises cooperation with employers in the future.

The White paper encourages fast-tracking transformation of the post-
schooling environment, and states that the South Africa economy will not grow
unless education is a priority.

? South Africa Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education
and Training

The newly established South Africa Institute for Vocational and Continuing
Education and Training (SAVCT) will provide support to the college sector and
develop innovative curricula.

SAVCT will also be responsible for upskilling existing staff, providing experts
to develop course materials, advising the minister on vocational education and
monitoring and evaluating TVET colleges and other public colleges.

It emphasises workplace learning, and preparingemployees for the labour
market and thereby developing skills ubeconomic self-sufficiency.

? Improve the quality of education and training in post-school
education
The White Paper sets out a broad policy for expanding post-school provision.

This should then assist with improving access to education and training
opportunities and strengthening the institutions of post schooling, of TVET
Colleges, universities, colleges and adult education centres to improve the
quality of education.

Focused attention according to the paper will be given to:

? improving the quality through appropriate programmes
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? upgrading of lecturers
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? capacity building of management and governance
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? improved learner support
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? information technology systems
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? setting up partnerships with employers and mainstreaming funding
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? developing partnerships with rural areas and distance education across the
system.
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The paper also recognises the resources of both the private and public sector
drivers as a means of deepening and transforming the entire post schooling
system.
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? Expand skills development

A system is envisaged that is made up of a diverse range of educational
institutions that will expand considerably over the next 20 years. They will cater
for the millions of people, especially the youth, and help to use education as a
driver in fighting poverty and inequality.

Minister Nzimande said there must be a clear link between schools, colleges,
providers, universities and the world of work, as well as, a diversity of
educational institutions in order to cope with the needs of a large and increasing
student population.

Challenges

One of the critical challenges that the paper addresses, is the regulatory
role of professional bodies. It says, "we must safeguard professional standards
without being gatekeepers who restrict the supply of professionals?.

The paper will further see the department uprooting short courses that are high
cost-driven, but do not lead to any meaningful qualification, and often do not
lead to any work placement.

Milestone in the history of education

Assessment College and City andGuilds support the White Paper and see it as
a historic event in South Africa?s post school education system.

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