Further Education and Training
Strategy for transformation
The aim of the national strategy is to restructure the educational landscape of South Africa to provide improved access to a more diverse learner population. It is the ultimate aim to create a FET sector that will directly impact on the transformation of a society in terms of relevant education that will uplift the economy through active entrepreneurial training and the preparation of learners for the world of work.
South Africa’s National Strategy for Further Education and Training targets human resource development as an essential component in attaining its FET policy goals.
The National Strategy for FET, a synthesis of the White Paper 4 and the Further Education and Training Act of 1998, proposes four areas of intervention. These are:
- The reorganisation of FET institutions
- Learning and teaching
- Programme-based funding
- Planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting
Reorganisation of FET institutions
The current institutional landscape of the education and training system has been shaped by apartheid policies. Separate institutions were established in close proximity to one another for purposes of providing education and training to different racial groups. The quality of programmes and infrastructure were also determined by unequal allocation of resources to the ex-departments. The consequential results of apartheid planning led to institutions in the same locality providing similar programmes, hence duplication and wastage. In the FET sector our immediate and paramount task is to consolidate and modernise our colleges into large, multi-purpose and multi-campus FET institutions that are able to engage business in a meaningful way, offer a wide range of programmes and most importantly eliminate duplication and wastage. The vision is a dynamic sector of between fifty and sixty colleges.
Integral to the reorganisation of our institutions, is the development of our human resources. Firstly, we must ensure that teaching and non-teaching staff are representative of the South African population. Our educators do have the necessary capacity to develop programmes that are responsive to the needs of industry as outlined in the different Sector Skills Plans.
Strategic objectives in learning and teaching:
- Management of learning programmes and qualifications framework(s) and innovation.
- Increased learner participation and achievement, particularly in Maths, Science, Technology and Engineering.
- Learning support materials.
- Flexible learning.
- Learner support services.
- Ongoing professional development.
- Articulation and learner mobility.
- Technical college and Senior Certificate examinations.
Clearly, educators are central in any process of curriculum innovation. The urgency for an ongoing professional development strategy cannot be over-emphasised. In technical/vocational education, we must have a strategy that creates opportunities for placement in the workplace on a regular basis. We must constantly familiarise ourselves with the changing technologies in factories, mines, farms and commerce. A partnership with business will be crucial for creating opportunities for placement.
Funding mechanisms play a central role in steering education and training system. A funding strategy has been adopted that will raise the level of accountability, drive quality improvement and promote responsiveness. Institutions that are guaranteed full funding are slow to respond to change or to contemplate change. Responsiveness to change must therefore be promoted.
In future institutions will not be funded, but learners in programmes. Part of the budget will be linked to student retention and completion. Most importantly, included in the new formula will be incentives for colleges to provide access to learners with special educational needs, women in science and the rural poor.
Institutional management will be encouraged and supported to mobilise and augment their budgets by providing programmes to the Sector Education and Training Authorities and the targeted groups through the National Skills Fund. The challenge to market institutions and the programmes offered is going to increase.
Planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting
The aspects outlined above all need planning. The capacity to develop and produce plans is going to be a critical competence of each and every FET institution. Institutional plans in areas of curriculum, human resource development, funding and quality improvement are going to be required from all institutions. National goals and priorities, provincial plans and labour market trends will surely constitute the basis for institutional plans.
Adapted from: KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY PROFESSOR KADER ASMAL, MP, MINISTER OF EDUCATION, AT THE COMMITTEE OF TECHNICAL COLLEGE PRINCIPALS (CTCP) GENERAL TERM MEETING: GALA EVENT, AT 19:30 ON WEDNESDAY, 22 MARCH 2000.
A developmental approach
The Green Paper adopts a strongly developmental approach to the transformation of FET. Development is used here in two senses: first, to signal the critical role of FET in social and economic development, and second, to make the point that implementation of the Ministry's vision and strategy will require serious and systematic efforts to overcome the resource and capacity constraints which hold back the pace of change.
Our national system of FET must be increasingly
responsive to the country's needs, and it will at the
same time build capacity and introduce essential changes in a planned and responsible manner.
The need for a multi-pronged FET strategy
Divergent social and economic conditions suggest that, if FET is to meet the varied needs of individuals and communities and contribute effectively to social and economic development, a flexible and responsive, multi-pronged strategy is required.
While FET policy and planning must take cognisance of the inescapable realities of globalisation, it must ensure at the same time that local needs and priorities shape our interaction with the global economy, through the implementation of equitable, relevant and effective human resource development policies.
The FET system can contribute in important ways to the
development of an export-led and globally competitive
manufacturing sector through the education and training of a
highly skilled and innovative workforce. However, the highly
differentiated character of the South African economy
imposes a range of additional responsibilities. These
responsibilities have first and foremost to do with meeting
the needs of vulnerable and marginalised communities.
Through the programmes it offers, the people it trains, and
the community development initiatives it supports, the FET
system can be a crucial resource and catalyst for change.
(GREEN PAPER ON FURTHER EDUCATION AND
TRAINING PREPARING FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY THROUGH
EDUCATION, TRAINING AND WORK)