- Minister of Higher Education and Training has reiterated the need for TVET colleges to establish industry partnerships.
- A TVET college principal’s success will be measured by the ability of students to find work after they graduate.
- The minister has ordered a report to be submitted by the end of January 2023 detailing TVET college’s industry partnerships.
On Tuesday, Statistics South Africa revealed a morsel of good news in that the unemployment rate – both official and expanded – decreased by one percent point.
While that is a good sign, more needs to be done to drive job creation and employment in South Africa. To that end, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has reiterated a directive he made earlier this year.
This directive was to principals at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges to establish partnerships with industry players. These partnerships would form part of the principals’ performance agreements.
While speaking at the Artisan Graduation Ceremony for students from Centres of Specialisation, Nzimande said that his department should monitor and evaluate these industry partnerships on an ongoing basis.
“Holding TVET college principals to account on work placement is informed by the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, which requires Work Integrated Learning (WIL) to be a central component of the college programmes,” the minister said.
“The extent to which students are able to get placement in the workplace must be used as an important indicator for assessing the performance of the management of institutions,” Nzimande added.
Using employability as a metric to measure the performance of a TVET college is an approach that may help to not only drive unemployment figures down but it could also improve academic performance as well.
An analysis of two universities in the UK conducted in 2017 highlighted that work placement in the final year of studies can have a “positive and significant impact on final year academic performance”.
While this is not true for all areas of study, it is something worth considering especially for qualifications that involve business and engineering.
Work experience is incredibly valuable and making it a part of a principal’s performance metrics is a smart move that insures they are invested in the directive.
As regards this directive, Nzimande has told his department that he expects a report on his desk by the end of January 2023 detailing the industry partnerships all 50 TVET colleges have established.
“Where colleges hardly have any such relationships, I also need an explanation as to why and for a strategy to be developed to realise such. If need be, please come to my office for any additional help in forging these partnerships,” the minister said.
The minister went on to call on employers of all sizes to provide experiential work opportunities for students at TVET colleges as well as unemployed youth.
We look forward to seeing this report in the new year as South Africa works as a collective to address the unemployment crisis.