Le fedit?e Tona, nka se le emi?e. [You are finished, Minister. I will not stop you.]
UNGQONGQOSHE WEMFUNDO EPHAKEME KANYE NOKUQEQESHA: Ngiyabonga sihlalo, ngithathe leli thuba ngibingelele kuwena njengobaba wekhaya owuSihlalo wale Ndlu ebaluleke kakhulu emele izifundazwe zethu. Ngibingelele nakuzakwethu uNgqongqoshe Wemfundo Eyisisekelo, umama uMotshekga kanye neSekela lakhe ubaba uSurty, oNgqongqoshe bezemfundo bezifundazwe abakhona lapha kanye nabaphethe iMinyango. Ngibingelele amalungu ahloniphekile ale Ndlu, ngibingelele nezimenywa ezibalulekile ezikhona lapha nabo bonke abanye abethamele le ngxoxo kanye namaqabane onke akhona lapha endlini.
Ngiyafisa ukusho lokhu, ngikusho kahle ngolimi lwami bab' uMahlangu ngoba ngiye ngizwe kahle ukuthi siyakujabulela uma ngabe nisimemile ukuthi sizoba yingxenye yezingxoxo nenkulumompikiswano kule Ndlu ngoba le Ndlu ibaluleke kakhulu ekutheni ibhekelele ukuthi ngempela ngempela lezi zinto esizikhuluma lapha kuzwelonke ziyenzeka yini laphaya phansi. (Translation of isiZulu paragraphs follows.)
[The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Thank you, Chairperson. I would like to take this opportunity to greet you, as the man of this House, the Chairperson of this important House which represents our provinces. I would like to greet my colleague the Minister of Basic Education, hon Motshekga, and her Deputy Mr Surty, provincial education MECs and the heads of departments. I greet the hon members of this House, our important guests and everyone present as well as all the comrades who are present.
I would like to say this - I say it very well in my language, Mr Mahlangu, because I can feel that we get very excited if we are invited to be part of the debates in this House because this House is very important as it ensures that things that we talk about here at national level really happen at the grass-roots level.]
Tomorrow we begin a landmark Stakeholder Summit on Higher Education Transformation which, for the first time, will see all major stakeholders in the university sector, including students, workers, academics, management and nongovernmental organisations, NGOs, gathering to engage on issues such as equity, access, curriculum transformation and increasing academic success rates in the higher education sector. I believe this summit, which we are holding over the next two days, will be groundbreaking, not only for the higher education sector but in realising government's commitment to listen and engage. We expect close to 400 delegates who will be gathered at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology tomorrow and on Friday.
Chairperson, this summit will be among many engagements my department is convening to confront the challenges we have in structuring and defining the higher education and training landscape. We aim to create a new regimen of stakeholder relationships, draw on knowledge, ability and experience in the sector, and engage in an atmosphere of trust. We believe there is a unifying common public good, an informed and critical citizenry and the desire for a reduction of economic inequalities and for human development. Therefore we want to harness South Africa's best brains to develop South Africa's best brains.
Ngizocela ukubonga kubo bonke laba ababamba iqhaza kule mizamo yethu yokwakha uhlelo lwemfundo ephakeme nokuqeqesha. Abanye babo yizifundiswa ezisemaNyuvesi, abasebenzi balelizwe, osomabhizinisi ikakhulukazi-ke namalungu ePhalamende okuyiwona asibonisayo ukuthi cha, sibona engathi ningahamba kanje sikwazi ukuthi sixoxisane ukuze senze imfundo itholakale kubo bonke abantu bakithi. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[I would like to thank all those who participated in formulating the programme for higher education and training. Some of them are the academics at the universities, workers of this country, businesspeople and especially the Members of Parliament who gave guidance and held discussions so that everyone in our country gets an education.]
Hon members, the programmes of our department must interface with the range of social and economic development strategies across all spheres of government. We are creating the necessary synergies with the National Industrial Policy Framework, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the antipoverty strategy, the rural development strategy, and the technology and innovation plan. The overarching framework for all our work in the Department of Higher Education and Training is the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa, which is led by the Deputy President and managed by our department.
The Human Resource Development Council of South Africa, HRDCSA, which was launched on 30 March this year, will improve alignment and ensure that all players in human resource development from government, civil society sectors, organised business, labour, professional bodies and research communities reinforce and complement the work of others. Central to the realisation of the goals of the Human Resource Development Strategy is the alignment of its subordinate strategies. One of these is the National Skills Development Strategy, NSDS, which directs the skills levy that is collected by government for purposes of promoting training and skills development. As I have reported before, I have extended the National Skills Development Strategy II for a further year and requested the sector education and training authorities, Setas, to closely align their programmes to the further education and training colleges and placement of these students through learnerships and apprenticeships.
Sikwenza loku Sihlalo, ngoba inkinga ebesingathi sinayo ama-Seta ebezihambela ezibhekele le, ama-FET kolishi ayazihluphekela ngapha. Uma sifuna ukwenza ukuthi lama-FET kolishi athandwe yintsha nabantu abadala abakithi kufanele senze isiqiniseko sokuthi izingane eziphuma khona noma ezifunda khona ngobuningi bazo ziyawathola amathuba okuthi zibekwe emisebenzini la zingakwazi ukuthi zithole khona ulwazi ukuze ziqasheke kalula. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[We are doing this because we had problems with the Setas which were doing things their way and, on the other hand, the FET colleges are poor. If we want our youth and adults to love these FET colleges, we must ensure that those who finished or who are studying at these institutions get the opportunities by being placed where they will be able to get jobs easily.]
My department has submitted a draft National Skills Development Strategy III framework to the National Skills Authority, NSA, which will shortly be released for broader consultation and action before I finalise the strategy in the third quarter of this year. I invite the NCOP to engage with this proposed strategy. An inclusive process of consultation will assist us to develop a good strategy. This process will include all economic sectors, all key constituencies, and will take into account the need for key government priorities at national and provincial levels and action plans, including a skills strategy for rural development. This strategy will set priorities for both the Setas and the National Skills Fund.
We expect our public sector colleges and universities to become more responsive to this skills strategy. We have to assist learners to move between learning and work. This strategy will be used to incentivise companies to open up structured workplace learning for college students, as well as for university and university of technology students. The state- owned enterprises and other large employers have a special role to play in this regard.
Siyazi ngesikhathi esingaphambili lezinkampani zikahulumeni zabaqeqesha kakhulu, zabanika amakhono abamhlophe, kodwa kubukeka engathi kwehlile lokhu, muva nje sisafuna ukubuyela kuzona ukuthi ngoba nanikwenzile lokhu ngalesiya sikhathi. Ake nikwenzele nezingane lezi zendlu emnyama manje. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[We know that in the past state-owned enterprises for qualified people gave skills to white people, but it looks like that has decreased. Now we want to go back and tell them that they must do what they did but for black children this time.]
We have strengthened the capacity of the National Skills Authority to meet this challenge. Chairperson, I am also pleased to say that I am taking a special interest in driving artisan training in this financial year. We are determined to increase the numbers and the quality of skilled artisans, particularly in priority trades, through a synergy, as I have said, of strengthening FET colleges, the work of the Setas and business initiatives. A key priority will be to expand access to structured workplace learning and to develop partnerships to address the scarcity of artisanal skills.
In the course of this year I will also address the long-outstanding challenges of trade testing. There are long queues for apprentices to take trade tests and the pass rate is barely 50% for those who actually write the trade test. As the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations, QCTO, has now been launched, we are able to begin work on establishing the National Artisan Moderating Body, NAMB, and take forward the various regulations that are required. The aim of NAMB is to monitor the performance of accredited artisan trade test centres and develop a national databank of instruments for assessment and moderation of artisan trade tests.
Sikwenza lokhu Sihlalo ngoba sifuna ukuqeda labo qhibukhowe abadla izimali zabantwana bethu bethi bayabaqeqesha kanti akukho makhono ababanika wona. [Ihlombe.] (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[We are doing this, Chairperson, because we want to get rid of these fly-by- nights who are taking our children's money pretending to be training them, only to find out that they are not given any skills. [Applause.]]
Hon members, you may be aware that 19 of the 23 Setas received a clean bill of health from the Auditor-General's office. The effective functioning and governance of the Setas are essential to our efforts to meet our skills development goals. For those Setas that failed the audit, action will be taken to remedy the problem. In the next few weeks, after consultation with the National Skills Authority, I will release the proposed new Seta landscape which we aim to adopt by the third quarter of this year.
Expanding and improving capacity at further education and training, FET, colleges, is a vital part of the mission to create a comprehensive and differentiated post-school system in which universities and colleges are the key providers of the education and training needs.
Sifuna lamakolishi amakhono ukuwenza siwaqinise ngalendlela yokuthi siwakhulise, nabantwana bethu baye laphaya ngoba bewathanda bengayi ngoba bethi bahlulekile eNyuvesi bese bethi bafuna ukuya ekolishi. Sifuna ukuthi kube khona abantwana abazothi, mina angifuni ukuya ndawo kepha ngifuna ukuya ekolishi ngiyothola amakhono. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[We want to strengthen and expand the skills development colleges, so that our children go there because they love them and not because they failed at the universities. We want to have children who will say, "I do not want to go anywhere else but the college to acquire skills." [Applause.]]
It is intended, of course, that they will no longer be a concurrent competence. I have convened a Council of Education Ministers with the co- operation of my colleague, Minister Motshekga, and we will work closely with provincial MECs to ensure that these colleges move from being a concurrent competence to becoming a national competence. The Cabinet has mandated us to explore, in consultation with the Ministers of Justice and Constitutional Development and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the quickest way of effecting this move. All the MECs have expressed willingness for the colleges to be moved into being a national competence as speedily as possible.
Siyabonga nala Entshonalanga Kapa, sasithi mhlawumbe kuzoba khona umsinjwana. Cha! Ngqongqoshe siyabonga ukuthi niyayibona indlela njengezinye izifundazwe eziyisishiyagalombili. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.) [Here in the Western Cape we thought that there was going to be chaos. But no! Minister, we appreciate that you also do things like the other eight provinces.]
In the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement of 2009, the Minister of Finance announced that the funding of FET colleges will shift from provinces to national government. The department concluded arrangements with the Treasury to manage the budget of Programme 5 of the provincial departments of education as a Schedule 4 conditional grant as of 1 April 2010. This arrangement will be kept in place until the process of moving the FET colleges from a provincial to a national competence has been completed. We invite the NCOP to pay close attention to this and provide oversight with regard to all these processes.
The difficulties that we experienced in this sector, the FET sector, are being confronted honestly by us. We can only make the urgent progress required for these institutions to play the role our country needs if we have the full and frank participation of all stakeholders in identifying problems and finding solutions. This process has already begun, I am pleased to announce, and I will receive a report in September, on concrete steps we need to take and a comprehensive implementation plan. On 9 April we convened a round table of all stakeholders in the subsystem to address immediate challenges and assess what actions can be taken to support colleges. That round table agreed that a comprehensive plan will be completed by August.
In summary, the outcomes of the round table are that we now have a collective understanding of, and agreement on, what needs to be done in the short, medium and long term to address current challenges. Ownership of the process to develop this through key stakeholders and role-players has been achieved. An FET summit steering committee has been set up to guide processes leading to the summit.
A matter that we are also paying urgent attention to, one that is threatening to destabilise the FET college sector, is the long-standing negotiations by the Education Labour Relations Council to address the conditions of service of college staff. We want this to be concluded before the end of April. However, this may not be achieved, but I am taking a personal interest in facilitating a resolution of the outstanding issues as soon as possible. We are aware of the concerns and issues raised in regard to the transfer of state-paid employees to the employ of college councils.
Unfortunately, this has had the unintended consequences of shedding 36% of the college lecturers that we had before. It is our intention to begin consultation immediately to explore reabsorbing college staff on a differentiated model, and there is strong support for this from stakeholders.
The adult education and training sector is a key component of our postschool education and training system. We will take forward the implementation of the Adult Basic Education and Training Act together with our partners, the provincial departments of education. One of the most important tasks for the department this year is to pursue the establishment of a senior certificate specially geared to the needs of adults.
Singafundisi abantu abadala kwangathi sifundisa izingane okusafanele sizifundise O-aeiou. [We should not teach adults the basics as if we are teaching children.]
We believe that adults who wish to achieve Grade 12 equivalence have many reasons for doing this, and our system must respond to the different needs and be linked to training opportunities and for those adults to skill themselves. We will continue to offer and improve on the general education and training certificate for adult basic education and training. In the year 2009, 89 290 candidates wrote this examination, an increase of 29 000 on the 60 000 candidates registered in the year 2008.
It is also important to understand the profile of these candidates. As many as 46% of those adults writing the adult basic education and training general education training certificate examinations were between 20 and 29 years of age. This is an age group which we still consider as the youth, and all of these young people would have spent a considerable part, if not all, of their school years in a postdemocratic South African education system. Whatever the reason for their not having completed school, the success of their "second chance" must be applauded. It is a great source of pride to us. We must continue to encourage young people as well as adults to continue with postschool education and training and make it accessible to them.
The Skills Development Act of 1998 requires that we set up - and this is something that is of particular importance to this House - provincial skills development forums. As a department, we are taking this requirement seriously and will be engaging the provinces on how these forums should be set up and operate. The primary functions of these forums will be to identify skills development priorities in provinces and to provide platforms for all stakeholders to engage on these priorities. It is important that business, labour, FET colleges, universities, universities of technology and the Setas are all represented on these forums, which we intend establishing by the next financial year.
Much more critically, the NCOP and provincial legislatures will also have to assist us to ensure that what these provincial skills development forums do is actually aligned to the provincial growth and development strategies. That is a wonderful opportunity to try to align our skills development thrust with what has been identified as priorities by the provinces. Indeed, all of this will be guided by the overall key priorities of government.
Another thing that I think I need to say is that one of the key elements of trying to create an integrated system of education and training is not only to ensure that there is a synergy between what the Setas do and what the FET colleges do, but also to ensure that there is a relationship and articulation between programmes in the FET colleges and the universities of technology in particular.
Akakwazi umntwana ahlale iminyaka emithathu noma emine esekolishi kwi-FET enza ubunjiniyela kodwa uma eseya eNyuvesi ayoqala phansi engathi akazange enze lutho ngoba siyamosha uma senza kanjalo. Simosha imali kahulumeni, simosha imali yabantu bakithi abahluphekayo, abadinga ukuthi sisebenze ngendlela eyiyo. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[A child cannot do three or four years at an FET college studying engineering and when she or he gets to the university she or he starts at entry level as if she or he had done nothing, which is just a waste. We are wasting government's money; we are wasting our poor people's money, who expect us to work properly.]
The NCOP has a particular role to play in how all our programmes serve provincial and regional development priorities. Therefore, we invite this august House, as well as the provincial legislatures, to play an active role so that we achieve these objectives. Obviously, this is not everything that the department is going to be doing. We thought that in our Budget Vote we needed to highlight those areas of immediate interest and importance to a House like the NCOP.
Sibonga kakhulu baba uMahlangu, engathi kungabanjalo nakusasa. [Ihlombe.] [Thank you very much, hon Mahlangu; till next time. [Applause.]]