The education sector needs to diversify its offering to meet the needs of all South African learners, said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address at the National Skills Conference.
“...if the post-school system is to serve the country well, we need more places and different avenues for people to learn.”
The purpose of the National Skills Conference was to look at ways of addressing poverty, injustice and the legacy of apartheid through skills development.
The theme of the conference was titled, “Skills Development for an Integrated and Differentiated Post-School Education and Training System.
Ramaphosa explained that post schooling could only be addressed by increasing opportunities for learning.
“if we are to serve the needs of all South Africans better, we need more types of courses and qualifications.”
While universities and TVET colleges play a vital role in educating South Africans, he called on schools and private institutions to look for ways to integrate learners who had not followed the traditional route.
“This is a vision that seeks to broaden access to skills development not only for those who have completed matric.It is a national vision that addresses our peculiar challenges by giving opportunities also to those who leave school earlier or who have never been to school.”
He made special reference to the poor, working class and female citizens and urged stakeholders to provide financial aid and broaden access to higher education for these groups.
“This is a call to institutions to develop effective academic support programmes for learners from underprivileged backgrounds. It is a call for schools to mainstream career guidance and counselling in their activities. It is a call for greater private sector participation and investment in improving learning and teaching.”
He reiterated the call to work together and criticised the disturbances that occurred during the first sitting of the Higher Education National Convention.
“As we commend the efforts led by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke in organising stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing higher education, we must condemn the disruption that took place.”
“Such disorder does nothing to advance the struggle for accessible, inclusive, quality higher education.”