Higher Education, Science and Innovation Deputy Minister Buti Manamela joined by the High Commissioner of India to South Africa and Lesotho Jaideep Sarkar officially opened the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills at the Tshwane South Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College, in Pretoria West.
The government of India had invested R48-million to help establish the centre.
South Africa and India in July 2018 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together to establish the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisanal Skills, in recognition of the country’s drive to promote quality vocational education and training for young people, as well as to meet the need for artisanal skills in the country
The Department of Higher Education and Training has committed to launching 26 Centres of Specialisation at TVET colleges across the country, with the aim to prioritise 13 occupational trades in high demand to curb trade skills shortages, as well as reduce unemployment and poverty.
The South African government has allocated R150-million to fund the initial set-up costs of the 26 centres.
Manamela said the department was laying the foundation for differentiation in the college system by selecting certain colleges to focus on particular trades.
“While some colleges may later specialise in the same trades, it is desirable that other colleges will develop expertise in other trades and occupations to ensure less duplication and increased quality specialisation.
“The strategic repositioning of our TVET colleges is particularly important given the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The advent of the 4IR will disrupt the nature of work and the labour market as we have known them.
“However, such disruption should not be viewed as another pandemic, but rather as an opportunity to innovate and make our training and development institutions more agile,” he added.
Today’s event is a very special occasion, and this is because it is the culmination of a number of other important events.
You may recall that in 2018, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) embarked on a campaign to launch 26 Centres of Specialisation, prioritising 13 occupational trades in high demand, with the aim of curbing the shortage of trade skills while reducing unemployment and poverty in our country.
As you may be aware, these 26 Centres of Specialisation are located at 19 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country. The 19 colleges were selected following a rigorous process undertaken by teams of education and industry experts, including the National Skills Fund, to identify trades that are in demand for the national infrastructure programme as well as other strategic programmes.
Further to this, these 26 centres were provided with resources to upgrade their workshops and equipment to deliver effectively on these much-needed skills. The Centres of Specialisation are well positioned to prepare students for the workplace, or for self-employment, through the maintenance of close working relationships with employers in their areas of study.
We firmly believe that partnerships between colleges and industry, established to assist colleges with opportunities for work-integrated learning, will help a great deal with the placement of students once they have graduated. This is in line with our White Paper for Post-School Education and Training, which states that the TVET Colleges are to prepare students for workplace and/or self-employment.
You may also recall that, at the 2018 BRICS Summit, South Africa and India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together on establishing the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisanal Skills in South Africa. This was in recognition of South Africa’s drive to promote quality vocational education and training for young people, as well as to meet the need for artisanal skills in the country.