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The technical and vocational sector is globally punted as the main driver of post-school education because of its potential to drive economic development. In South Africa, government has identified Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as a national priority, with a goal of having a headcount of 2.5-million students enrolled in TVET colleges by 2030.

Towards this, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) launched a significant (European Union-funded) programme to ensure that the technical and vocational sector takes its rightful place in the various skills-development initiatives across a broad landscape of vocations.

According to 2016 stats, there are more than 10 000 lecturers, teaching more than 700 000 students across the 50 public TVET colleges in the country. Of concern is the fact that while these lecturers are skilled in their respective fields of industry, about 50% are professionally under- or unqualified to impart this knowledge in the classroom.

In a bid to address this, Nelson Mandela University is introducing the Advanced Diploma in Technical and Vocational Teaching education (Adv Dip TVT) – a first for the country.

The first enrolment intake is set for 2019 at the University’s Missionvale Campus. The course, much like the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), is a one-year fulltime course that is completed over two years on a part-time basis.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, Dr Muki Moeng, says the new addition to the University’s offering is a “capping qualification” for those with the required disciplinary content knowledge to become professionally qualified TVET lecturers.

“This is a first for South Africa and a very welcome boost for developing the skills sector,” she says.

“It is a one-year (full-time), two-year (part-time) qualification and serves the needs of a sector (TVET) that is desperate to address the high levels of lecturers who are professionally under- and unqualified.”

Development of the programme began in 2014, after the DHET gazetted the new TVET qualifications framework in 2013.

The University received accreditation for the advanced diploma from the Council for Higher Education (CHE) in 2017 and South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) registration earlier this year.

“We have received significant funding from the DHET, as part of the national TLDCIP8 funding project,” says Dr Moeng.

“It is our intention to offer the programme on a part-time basis (evening classes) on our Missionvale Campus next year. During 2020, we are hoping to expand the programme to our George Campus and to include a full-time cohort on South Campus, as staffing numbers permit.”

The qualification includes a 30% practical component, and requires significant collaborations with business, commerce, industry, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) as well as local and provincial government.

The first cohort of students to the Adv Dip TVT mostly comprises current TVET college lecturers, many of whom have jumped at the opportunity at obtaining a formal teaching qualification.

Project coordinator Neville Rudman said they had been working closely with local TVET colleges in the development of the qualification over the years.

“This programme responds to the need to develop teaching competence in the TVET sector, which requires a specialized pedagogy, cognisant of the diversity of the student body as well as the requirements of the world of work,” he says.

“It will develop the capacity of both current and prospective technical and vocational lecturers at the three TVET colleges within our geographic footprint – East Cape Midlands TVET College, Port Elizabeth TVET College and South Cape TVET College.”

The Faculty of Education will launch the new programme during a breakfast event on 3 October at the University’s North Campus Conference Centre, to which they have invited role players from the DHET, the various SETA’s, local government and SMME’s.

Potential partners from business, commerce and industry across all disciplinary are invited to join the Faculty on this journey. Interested parties must please contact Allazei Phillips on 041-5044018 or by email if they wish to attend this launch event.

The TVET team join Madiba Front: Dr Kathija Yassim, Dr Muki Moeng, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education and Allazei Phillips. Back: Lucky Maluleke and Neville Rudman

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
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