Department Of Higher Education Wants To Improve TVET College Curriculum

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TVET Colleges play a critical role in filling the skills gap in South Africa by providing individuals with the knowledge and skills needed for vocational careers. The Higher Education Minister believes the TVET college sector could be significantly improved with the help of industry partners. 


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Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande stressed the importance of industry input in the development of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College curriculum. 

TVET Colleges play a critical role in developing South Africa’s next generation of artisans. The skills obtained at TVET Colleges set graduates up with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue various technical and vocational and gain employment or pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. 

Industry input could have several benefits including ensuring TVET College students have the required skills and knowledge needed to secure employment as well as increasing productivity and success rates of college graduates. 

What is also critical is the need for more substantial industry involvement in the TVET curriculum review process to enhance responsiveness to industry needs and requirements

The minister was speaking during the TVET Curriculum Transformation and Innovation Summit which took place at the Vodaworld Dome in Midrand. The summit brings together various role players in the TVET sector to engage and contribute to the curriculum transformation and innovation challenges of the TVET sector. 

The improvement of the curriculum will also positively contribute to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) long-term goals for the TVET college sector. 

Currently, the TVET College sector produces around 20 000 qualified artisans annually. This will need to increase by 10 000 qualified artisans if the department is to reach its National Development Plan (NDP) goal of producing 30 000 qualified artisans by 2030. 

In order for us to be successful in bringing these changes, there is also a need for change in the management strategies to prepare for current and future TVET curriculum challenges.

TVET Centres Of Specialisation

Nzimande also highlighted that the number of Centres for Specialisation has been expanded to 34 at 27 TVET colleges. Under Apartheid, there was only one Trade Test centre nationally, ‘Olifantsfontein’, now known as Indlela.

The Centres of Specialisation Programme aims to address the demand for priority trades needed for the implementation of the government's NDP and National Infrastructure Plan. This will simultaneously contribute towards building the capacity of colleges to deliver trade qualifications with trade partners.

A further investment of R68 million has also been allocated to 16 colleges, which now have 33 trade test centres.

These trade test centres have trade tested over 600 apprentices of which over 500 have qualified as artisans. Currently, 26 of our colleges are engaged in entrepreneurial training through our entrepreneurship hubs.

Nzimande revealed that 14 954 TVET placement opportunities to the value of R726 million have been opened for graduates. Their goal is to create 20 000 TVET graduates in work placements. 

TVET Colleges and 4IR

The significance of ensuring that TVET colleges remain responsive to the demands of the 21st century, both on a local and global scale, was strongly emphasised during the event. 

Several initiatives have been introduced to respond to the emergence of technology and new needs. The TVET College sector is preparing for the 21st century with the establishment of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) centres.

"These centres, supported by stakeholders like the ETDP SETA (Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority), are focused on expanding digital skills among both students and staff."

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Blade Nzimande talking about TVET colleges

More young people must consider enrolling in vocational training programmes at public colleges in South Africa to achieve the goals set out in the National Development Plan. The higher education department will also look to ensure individuals have relevant opportunities after completing their training.

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