What is Post School Education and Training?

What happens to the masses of students exiting the school system each year? This has become a major point of contention for government and higher education authorities.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) aims to increase access to what is known as 'Post School Education and Training' (PSET) opportunities, for successful matriculants as well as for those who have not achieved their grade 12 certificate.

What is PSET?

Post School Education and Training refers to all learning and teaching that happens after school. This includes private, public, formal and informal training.

Universities, TVET colleges, private institutions, apprenticeship programmes, and in-service training all form part of and contribute to the PSET sector.

According to John Arnesen post-school system advisor for Chartall Business College the PSET landscape in South Africa currently consists of:

  • 26 Public universities
  • 94 CHE accredited private higher education providers
  • 100 private providers
  • 31 Provisionally accredited private higher education providers
  • 50 TVET colleges
  • Various speciality public colleges estimated at less than fifty
  • 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities
  • Approximately 4000 small providers serving SETA skills development needs
  • Regulatory bodies responsible for qualifications and quality assurance in the post-school system – the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Quality Councils.
  • Public adult learning centres
  • The National Skills Fund

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande “is responsible for all post school education and training. This includes both public and private providers at ‘college’ and ‘university’ level” , says Arnesen.

What is the aim of PSET?

The DHET budget feeds into the post-school system through universities, NSFAS, TVET colleges, community colleges and SETA levies to develop skilled graduates. The aim is to create a workforce that has the right skills and training to meet the needs of business and the broader economy.

As a result the DHET has made special provision for students who wish to pursue a career in the trades in order to meet the demand for skilled worers in the engineering and artisan sector. The department has also highlighted other fields and sectors that are experiencing skills shortages.

To improve the PSET sector and promote discussion on the way forward government released a Green Paper in 2012 for public comment. The proposal focused on developing a vision that would integrate formal and informal higher education and boost skills development in the country.

The Green Paper received nationwide attention from stakeholders in higher education. The White Paper was later developed from the nearly 200 responses.

According to the Council of Higher Education;

“The White Paper sets out strategies to improve the capacity of the post-school education and training system to meet South Africa’s needs. It outlines policy directions to guide the DHET and the institutions for which it is responsible in order to contribute to building a developmental state with a vibrant democracy and a flourishing economy.”

Its main policy objectives are:

  • a post-school system that can assist in building a fair, equitable, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa;
  • a single, coordinated post-school education and training system;
  • expanded access, improved quality and increased diversity of provision;
  • a stronger and more cooperative relationship between education and training institutions and the workplace;
  • a post-school education and training system that is responsive to the needs of individual citizens, employers in both public and private sectors, as well as broader societal and developmental objectives.

By Cindy Payle - Portal Publishing