South Africa contributes a large portion of its national budget towards education and skills development. Approximately 1.5% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is contributed towards education and training after school, most of which is received by vocational colleges and the National Skills Fund, among others. With the nation devoting a substantial amount of its money to skills development, let’s take a look at why that is. In other words, why skills development matters.
The majority of the least economically developed countries in the world are in Africa. A major factor keeping countries from being able to fight poverty is the inaccessibility of higher education and training. If no one can afford to educate themselves further, they can’t get better paying jobs and so remain trapped in poverty.
With university education in South Africa in something of a crisis and out of reach for many, there needs to be an alternative way to bring education to the population. This is why our government views Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) Colleges as a priority. By allocating funds to TVET colleges and other skills development programmes they hope to bring further education to the people.
By making training and skills development available to people, be it in the form of learnerships, artisan courses, short courses, workplace training, we can help people to upskill themselves and stand a better chance of escaping poverty. This would give South Africa a more skilled workforce, in the position to innovate and bring new ideas to the country to combat challenges we face and strengthen the economy.
Skills development is an investment.
Beyond just the economic benefits of skills development (which should not be understated), there are also enormous personal benefits.
By helping people to further their education, no matter where they are in life, we can open up many more doors to them. They will be able to consider things that never seemed possible before - new ideas, new job opportunities, the chance to get out of poverty - and achieve new levels of personal success.
Skills development is the first step in the journey of further education and training.
This is why skills development matters. It is how we can ensure that the South Africa of the future, the South Africa we leave behind for our children, is built upon a solid foundation that will stand the test of time.