The Durban University of Technology (DUT) hosted a virtual Breakfast Engagement meeting bringing together selected quad-helix partners and representatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), TVET Colleges and SETAs, to engage further on forming sustainable partnerships and how these can be leveraged and maximised for societal benefits via MS Teams on Thursday, 8 April 2021. The event was co-hosted at DUT by the Wholesale & Retail Seta Chair, Mr Yunus Doba, the Faculty of Management Sciences and Office of the DVC Research, Innovation and Engagement and support by the WRSeta, DHET and DUT partners.
Facilitating the webinar was Mr Zwakele Ngubane, Director: Advancement and Alumni Relations who said DUT is a very keen participant and stakeholder in the higher education environment, in terms of ensuring that it is an engaged university.
“We want to ensure that we engage with all possible stakeholders, in ensuring that we maximise the benefits to our society, to our community and to our stakeholders. We will be discussing some critical issues around how the TVETs and the universities, in this particular instance DUT itself can engage more meaningfully so that we are able to work together in fostering and facilitating that collaboration that would allow and benefit our students in terms of ease of movement and articulation between the TVETs and the universities,” said Ngubane.
Giving the official welcome and introductions was Professor Fulufhelo Netswera, DUT’s Executive Dean at the Faculty of Management Sciences.
He said this engagement is an idea that is largely been made possible by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at DUT, Professor Sibusiso Moyo, who requested that they bring together members from various sectors in order to have engagements that are beneficial to all stakeholders.
“We have therefore brought together those who emanate from the TVET Colleges, DHET, members from SETA and the DUT Community. Our intention is to make sure that we have engagements that are mutually beneficial, so that we can discuss a variety of issues pertaining to how we can work together in order to make sure that matters of articulation between TVET colleges and the DUT are smoothly facilitated. Matters pertaining to how curriculum can respond to the interests and needs of industry. Issues pertaining to capacity development for the TVET colleges, for DUT itself and for making sure that this arrangement can be sustainable. In the near future we should and must have an MoU that articulates all of those interests and how we will mutually engage. Making sure that Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is smoothly facilitated between TVET colleges, industry, supported by the SETA and other stakeholders who are highly interested in these development initiatives,” said Prof Netswera.
Speaking on contextualising collaboration and partnerships and why there’s a need for a Memorandum of Understanding, Prof Moyo said DUT has been engaging with the TVET sector for a long time. She said in 2019 they held a workshop which focused on understanding the causes of gender disparities within the TVET sector, which also included DUT as a UNEVOC Center linked to the UNESCO-UNEVOC Center in Germany and global network of TVETs (https://unevoc.unesco.org/pub/boosting_gender_equality_in_science_and_technology.pdf). She thanked the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and TVET sector for contributing to the gender disparities in TVET sector studies.
“What we need to see in going forward is a policy document/guidelines that spells out clear articulation pathways, entry requirements and how TVET graduates can qualify to get access to the University system and other tertiary institutions. These guidelines/procedures must be openly available and shared with both the public and potential candidates who may want to move from the TVET sector to the other tertiary institutions. Articulation, access, mobility and agility are all key thematic areas that need to be bedded down.
In 2020 some of the work with the TVET sector also involved contributing to the entrepreneurial learning guide (see https://unevoc.unesco.org/up/entrepreneurial_learning_guide.pdf).
“Thank you to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and our TVET partners and industry who continue to support our joint initiatives. The guide is a useful tool for the sector in implementing entrepreneurial learning across the TVET institutions,” said Prof Moyo.
She said DUT’s policies at national level encourage it to work with the TVET sectors. Furthermore, she explained that DUT is supposed to ensure that its students, the citizens are given a chance to access higher education. If students study at a TVET college, there should be a clear route which articulates their progression, where they can go to a higher education institution and complete their degree. She said it is important that the Wholesale and Retail SETA which facilitated the breakfast plays a role in bridging the gap through Work Integrated Learning, which is linked to skills training, job creation and making sure that the graduates are able to find and/or create jobs.
Representing the Head of KwaZulu-Natal DHET, Dr Sipho Nzimande was Mr Nhlanhla Dimba, the Principal of Mtashana TVET College in Vryheid. He said TVET colleges will not succeed if they work in isolation and encouraged closed relationship between the world of work and the world of training. Other speakers included Mr Tom Mkhwanazi, Chief Executive Officer of Wholesale and Retail SETA, Ms Zandile Ntshangase, Regional Manager: Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Seta (CATHSSETA) in KwaZulu-Natal and Free State region, Mr Sanele Mlotshwa, Chairman of the South African Public Colleges Organisation (SAPCO) and Mr Bruce Ferguson, Chairman of Wholesale and Retail Leadership Board. All these speakers delivered informative presentations, all expressing the importance of this collaboration in producing purposeful graduates. Mr Laurent Marche, a technical expert on Product Lifecycle Management Competency Centre (PLMCC) Project also delivered a powerful presentation on the 3D Experience which may be an opportunity for TVETs as well.
Giving the vote of thanks was Ms Phumzile Xulu, Community Engagement Practitioner at DUT, who expressed her gratitude to all the esteemed guests for their contributions to the discussion and for taking time out to be part of this engagement.
Pictured: Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement.