Joining the dots between education and the world of work

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South Africa needs a dynamic education and training system that allows efficient movement of learners and workers. Thus, communities of practice in Early Childhood Development (ECD), Community Development and Engineering met on 5 and 6 September 2019 to map ways to strengthen learning and work pathways in these three sectors.

The purpose of the conference was to deepen the culture of articulation in ECD, Community Development and Engineering. Articulation is the process of forming connections between qualifications to allow for movement of learners through the formal education and training system and its links with the world of work.

There are barriers to articulation in our education and training system. For example, a learner with a National Certificate Vocational (NCV) registered at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Level 4 may not be accepted to study at a university. However, the NCV is registered at the same NQF Level as the National Senior Certificate (NSC).

While the NCV and NSC serve different purposes, they both provide access to further education as per the Minister’s policy. The only difference is that for each qualification, the learner has to meet specified university entry requirements.

Employers also often ask for applicants with an NSC in the main rather than ones with an NCV or an occupational qualification. In some instances, a learner with an NCV in ECD or an occupational certificate like the Further Education and Training Certificate in ECD could be best placed for employment at an ECD Centre than a learner with an NSC.

The delegates looked at the challenges unique to their sector and fine-tuned their plans to enhance articulation. Professionalisation, collaboration and funding are some of the issues raised in the draft Articulation Plans for ECD, Community Development and Engineering.

The delegates committed, through a conference Declaration, to:

· Deepen a culture of articulation by enhancing learner access and progression in learning and work;

· Finalise and implement plans for ECD, Community Development and Engineering pathways within the agreed timelines;

· Call on other sectors to develop and implement similar plans for learning pathways; and

· Reconvene in three years to reflect on progress and share articulation advances.

Ultimately, it is about enabling learners to move within and between the education and training system, and the world of work with ease. Lessons from these three sectors will assist in strengthening learning and work pathways in the broader education and training system. SAQA will continue facilitating these processes as it has been tasked by the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology to build a well-articulated education and training system.

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