The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) recently hosted the penultimate Free State, Gauteng & KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Pre-Ministerial Summit For Community Education And Training (CET) Colleges at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), Indumiso Campus, Pietermaritzburg.
DHET has been hosting a series of Community Education and Training (CET) Conferences across the country in preparation for the Ministerial Summit.
When doing his opening remarks and welcome, Regional Manager: Dr S Nzimande (KZN) started by acknowledging the esteemed guests comprising of the Deputy Director-General (DDGs), Regional Managers (Rms), Directors of the cities, Principals, Officials of the cities, Chairpersons of the councils, Premiers Office, Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), Sector Education and Training Authority (SETAs) and DUT, just to mention a few.
“Ignorance about CETs prevails in our communities. There exist also ignorance in a way of refusing to accept that exposure to the CET system can be a solution for communities by providing skills to ordinary people for them to participate effectively in their local economies. Through CET, people can go to universities and colleges. The number of illiterates in our communities continues to rise even though the Community Education & Training Centres exist”, said Dr Nzimande.
The Programme Director: Ms T Masondo –Director CET Gauteng when giving a background on why DUT was chosen as a host of the summit said DUT is one of the few institutions in the country to look into advancing the School of Adult Education and that it also spearheading a ministerial project.
“Over time in universities there has been a decline in Adult Education programmes and some of the higher institutions closed the School of Adult Education. DUT was the first university to look into upgrading the school. As a result, most of our lecturers who are receiving bursaries from the ETDP SETA are part of this programme. Secondly, there is a ministerial project in this area called Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct (IEIP) which is managed by this institution,” stated Ms Masondo.
The Deputy Director-General – Community Education and Training, DHET, Ms Thembisa Futshane took the Colloquium through the purpose of the summit and said the CET Summit is a response to the Minister’s vision and the worsening socio-economic issues in the country.
“If you look at the recent quarterly labour Force quoter 3 survey of 2021, it paints a big picture for an increase in unemployment, particularly for the young. It indicates that there is more than 3.4 million South African youth that is either employed nor active in the education system. There is also a worsening socio-economic context that we must bear in which is characterised by the increasing poverty and not just unemployment but the inequalities,” explained Ms Futshane.
She went on to say that a complimentary strategy must be in place. Therefore, there is a need to look at initiatives in the non-formal or formal economy that will bring economic sustainability in terms of the livelihoods in the communities. The provision of short to medium skills programmes must be seen as such intervention utilizing the CET colleges in collaboration with stakeholders.
The DUT Midlands Campus Director: Dr Joe Molete when delivering a presentation on the Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct (IEIP) – A PSET and Basic Education Collaboration started by acknowledging DHET for choosing DUT to be the host of the seminar, briefly gave background information about DUT and unpacked the ministerial trailblazer project known as the Imbali Education and Innovation Precinct.
Dr Sandra Land delivered a presentation on Professionalising the CET Sector: Lecturer Development- Policy to be Practiced. The Deputy Director-General responsible for Skills Development in the Department of Higher Education and Training, Mr Zukiswa Mvalo delivered a presentation on the National Skills Strategy and the role of CET Colleges. The Senior Project Coordinator: UMngungundlovu TVET College, Ms Thulisile Mbense did a presentation on Exploring and exploiting opportunities presented by the information age and the digital economy through open learning.
A discussion session followed and the DHET Free State and Gauteng Regional Manager, Ms Hellen Ntatleng provided a summary and recommendations of the Summit.
The summit closed off with a tour of exhibition stands from different colleges showcasing products produced by their students
Pictured: Delegates in attendance at the pre-ministerial summit.