Participation in National Task Teams and Processes
1. Ministerial Task Team on a National Plan for Post School Education and Training (NP-PSET), 2016
In December 2015, the Minister of Higher Education and Training established a task team to develop a plan by December 2016 for the implementation of the White Paper on Post School Education and Training 2015-30. SSACI’s CEO, Mr Ken Duncan, is a member of the TVET section of the task team.
2. National Artisan Training and Development Monitoring and Evaluation Team (ATD-MET), 2011-16
In November 2010, the Minister of Higher Education and Training set up an Artisan Development Technical Task Team (ADTTT), comprising representatives from organized business and experts from within his own department, to develop by mid-2012 a simplified, financially sustainable and quality-assured programme for training artisans across all sectors of the economy. From 2001 until then, artisan training had been spread across at least fourteen SETAs, with vastly differing systems and standards.
In pursuit of its overall objective, the ADTTT was mandated to:
• Develop a rationalized list of artisan trades that supports economic growth
• Develop a policy on routes to artisan qualifications
• Identify a workable ratio of artisans to apprentices within each trade in order to establish, and then increase, training capacity at sector level
• Conceptualise simplified training systems and curricula
• Develop a single, sustainable funding system for artisan training in all sectors of the economy
• Develop a streamlined system for accrediting training providers and ensuring delivery of necessary training
• Identify and open up workplace training opportunities for at least 15’000 new apprentices between April 2011 and March 2012
• Devise methods to standardize and continuously improve the quality of trade testing
• Conduct research related to artisan development that can inform policy development and implementation
Since then, SSACI’s CEO has served on the task team and some of its sub-committees, making the following specific contributions:
• Technical advice on the funding formula for apprenticeships, drawing on research in Switzerland which analyzed the cost-benefits of various types of apprenticeship. This input broke a deadlock between employers and DHET in ADTTT by introducing the principle of ‘cost-neutrality to host-employers’ and providing figures that could accomplish that goal.
• Funding for research into the fees-and subsidies structure of the Qualifications Council for Trades and Occupations. This led to a major re-think within DHET of the role and functions of QCTO, which is reflected in the Green Paper on Post School Education and Training
• Funding for, and technical advice on, the creation of a national database of qualified artisans and a web-based system for tracking apprentices nationally.
• Input on a system for recognizing prior learning of candidate artisans
In December 2011 the chairman of the ADTTT Plenary Committee (who was also CEO of the National Artisan Moderating Body at the time) wrote to SSACI that:
“There is no way we could ignore [SSACI’s] contribution. You are doing excellent work and your contribution will be invaluable on matters relating to an integrated and coordinated approach to artisan development in this country.”
In 2015, the ADTTT was reconstituted as the Artisan Training and Development Monitoring and Evaluation Team (ATD-MET), on which SSACI continues to serve.
3. Ministerial Task Team on the Establishment of a National institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (SAIVCET), 2012
In January 2012, the national Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) released a Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training which proposed, inter alia, the establishment of a South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (SAIVCET) along the lines of those in Switzerland, Germany and some other countries. The Green Paper stated that ‘there is clearly a need for an institution to support the FET colleges and the development of the skills system, as well as the provision of general education to adults.’ (p34).
In March 2012, the Minister appointed an eight-person Task Team, chaired by SSACI’s CEO, Mr Ken Duncan, to:
• Examine the list of possible functions set out in the Green Paper as well as other functions that it may deem desirable for the Institute and make recommendations regarding the role the institute could play in supporting and strengthening of vocational and continuing education and skills development in South Africa.
• Make recommendations regarding the establishment of the Institute, including its legal and organisational form.
• Develop a draft framework for the establishment of SAIVCET.
During the remainder of 2012, the Task Team:
• Conducted a review of relevant literature, including a desktop study of comparable international institutes
• Undertook study trips to selected technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes and apex bodies in four countries: the Republic of Korea, India, Switzerland and Germany
• Conducted structured interviews with informed people in South Africa, drawn from DHET personnel involved in FET and AET, FET college principals and staff, private TVET providers, AET providers, higher education, organised and individual business, organised labour, SETAs, NGOs and civil society at large
• Reviewed public submissions to the DHET on the Green Paper that were relevant to the establishment of a South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training
• Reviewed reports from other ministerial task teams, such as on the Recognition of Prior Learning, on Community Education and Training Centres, on SETA performance and on the National Certificate (Vocational)
Thereafter, in December 2012, the Task Team submitted to the Minister a final report incorporating its recommendations on
• Guiding principles and priorities for such an institute
• Its role and functions
• Its size and location
• Structure and governance
• Performance management and evaluation
• A proposed roll-out plan
Thereafter, the DHET incorporated further planning and action into its own strategic operations.
4. The FET Summit and RoundTable Process, 2010-11
In April 2010, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, convened a round-table conference of stakeholders, including SSACI, to consider how to address problems in what was still at that time being called the Further Education and Training (FET) college sector. Arising from that, SSACI was asked to fund and manage the work of five ‘task teams’ of experts from within the DHET and elsewhere who were mandated to propose ways in which the country’s 50 public FET colleges could be made more efficient and effective in the short-to-medium term. SSACI participated in the technical work of the task teams, notable those focusing on the colleges’ legal and regulatory framework, their programmes and qualifications mix, and their examinations systems. The reports of these task teams were tabled at the national FET Summit on 3-4 September 2010, where delegates endorsed almost all the proposals and recommended them to the Minister.
Shortly afterwards, the then Director-General of the DHET wrote to SSACI:
“Following the success of the national FET Summit on 2-3 September, I would like to thank SSACI for its support of the various task teams that did the groundwork for that event. The reports of the task teams are invaluable inputs into the Department’s policy development processes… SSACI’s interest in assisting us with this ongoing work is very welcome and we look forward to further cooperation with you and your industry partners in future.”
The DHET then commissioned four ‘workstreams’ to drive the implementation of the task teams’ recommendations. SSACI took on the tasks of the workstream on college-industry partnerships, and collaborated with two other development agencies – JET and the NBI - on the workstreams responsible for operational planning and management development. This work continued throughout 2011, by which team it had largely been absorbed into the ongoing operations of the DHET’s colleges’ branch.