Reflections on the state of the TVET sector and emerging issues
One of the objectives of the conference is to take stock of where we are but more importantly to focus on concrete and realistic actions which need to be taken to transform the TVET sector into a vibrant sector which both develops human capacity and prepares students for the world of work so that they may become active citizens. Current initiatives undertaken by DHET, other Departments, research institutions and industry will be brought together so as to assess overall progress and identify emerging issues and/or trends to be considered in order to take the sector forward. Various themes and/or topics will be identified to broadly reflect on the sector at a macro-strategic and conceptual level.
Towards a common vision for the TVET sector
The Imbizo seeks to interrogate and distil the vision set out in the WPSET in conjunction with the National Development Plan (NDP) of South Africa.
A common vision must be adopted but also critically a detailed "Road Map" for achieving this vision. In view of the above, one of the objectives of the Imbizo is to plan by specifically envisioning the following areas of work at the strategic level:
- a) Purpose of the TVET system;
- b) Qualifications which should be offered in the TVET system;
- c) Potential differentiation of the system;
- d) Student support models;
- e) Quality assurance models;
- f) Institutional capacity, governance and autonomy; (i.e. the role of Principal as Accounting Officer vis-à-vis the role of College Councils) and
- g) Lecturer qualifications and development.
Importantly, the DHET has undertaken a comprehensive White Paper planning process to chart the way for the sector over the next 13 years up to 2030. Significant time and energy has gone into this planning process. This Imbizo will identify systemic challenges in implementing the white paper.
Improving efficiencies and maximising utilisation of resources
There are perceived dysfunctionalities, inefficiencies and wastages in the system currently. Issues often raised relate to lack of system-wide planning, inadequate coordination of efforts as well as unnecessary bureaucratic processes. These challenges operate at different levels, which include policy, process and implementation. The following issues have emerged from Colleges in their experiences with SETAs:
- a) SETAs contracting processes are tedious and inefficient (for example, SETAs dictate to College the price).
- b) The SETA funding has a high cost in terms of the changes to the project at the last minute and late payment by SETAs.
On the other hand, Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of SETAs and chairpersons of Council complain about TVET Colleges not being responsive. The management of stakeholder relations and the ability to 'listen to one another', 'hear each other out' and 'act towards the common good of the system' is often found wanting. Whereas there may be differences of opinions, it is crucial to 'hear each other out'. All universities, SETAs and key industries will be invited to the Imbizo with the intention of streamlining interfaces in a way that maximises utilisation of resources and reduces wastages due to inefficiencies and/or unnecessary bureaucratic processes. Some issues that need resolution are
- a) Issues Principals have with Councils, Students and the Department.
- b) Issues Councils have with Principals, Students and the Department.
- c) Issues the DHET has with Councils, Students and the Principals.
- d) Issues Students have with the Department, Principals and Councils.
- e) Issues that business have with TVET Colleges.
- f) Issues TVET Colleges have with business and so on.
The TVET Imbizo will provide a platform for various stakeholders to express their views and for engaging constructively on issues raised.