FET Colleges to be primary site for skills development 11


President Zuma delivered his first State of the Nation speech to a packed parliament. If you ignore for the moment Patricia De Lille’s eye-catching suit, the highlight of the day could have been the President’s announcement about FET Colleges.

FET Colleges will be, “the primary site for skills development training” President Zuma announced. There were no further details about what exactly this means.

Teacher union leaders understood the President to be saying that there would be a move away from the NCV curriculum that was introduced recently, and a move back towards more artisan training.

There could also be implications for Setas – and their skills development funds. Is this foreshadowing more funds being spent at FET Colleges and less with other providers? Can the 50 state FET Colleges really handle the lead role in providing all the skills that the country needs?

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11 thoughts on “FET Colleges to be primary site for skills development

  • Catherine Anne Robertson

    Catherine Martin really has an issue with public FET colleges – she has taken two opportunities to sideswipe and denigrate the work that the colleges do with sweeping generalisations, echoed by Malcolm A Birkin. I have been in the FET sector out of choice for years, and am proud of it. My colleagues are innovative, adventurous and they certainly deliver and don’t “pretend to deliver”. It is sad when people have a bad experience with one public FET college and then lump all 50 of us in the same mould. I would like to suggest that both these individuals take the time to come to the Cape and see what is being achieved here in the name of skills development – on very poor salaries and few promotional opportunities. It’s pure dedication and hard work. In any case, President Zuma said that FETs should become a primary site for delivery – not the only one, so they do not have to be defensive about their obvious private status; PPPs are definitely the way to go. Do what you are good at doing. And, why not use government infrastructure? It must be cost effective and, other than their experience, mine is that you are in excellent hands if you talk to the FETIs I’ve had anything to do with in my long career in the sector.

  • Peter van der Watt

    As a training facilitator for a private preferred provider, the solution might be that FET colleges start contracting in the private providers, which would result in a win-win situation for all. FET colleges would surely be enhanced by doing so and their reputations restored to what they were before.
    Look at it as JOB CREATION and not just as another trick by government to control or own businesses or education.
    Regards,
    Pieter van der Watt

  • Marguerite Sacco Turner

    I have seen a great deal of training programmes offered by private accredited providers, and the quality of the material is absolutely shocking! Yes, FET colleges should take over. They will have to outsource or pull in the skills of the providers to handle the workload, but at least (one hopes), materials will be reviewed and edited by proper subject matter experts, to truly assure the quality of what the learner receives. SETA’s idea of quality assurance is to make sure that the material matches the idiotic unit standards that have been produced – the question of HOW that is done seems to them to be irrelevant – just as long as you can tick the box that says the rubbish you have written corresponds with a certain specific outcome. From what I’ve seen of the materials produced by colleges,such as ICG,have a very high standard, and mechanisms whereby material is actually read, and properly edited. FET’s do have the ability, and do have the skills. They will need manpower. We training providers can contribute to that.

  • Peter Mashinini

    Trade unions must stop speculating because as of now, FET Colleges are in the right direction and they need to be repositioned as the core institutions of skills development. You find people trained for fifteen years of their lives in theory without practicals and expected to be productive afterwards. This is impossible. But with NCV’s, our curriculum is designed in a way that 60% of their work is practical and 40% theoretical. This therefore means after level 4, our students can be able to do the work, whether that student has studied commercial subjects or engineering it does not matter, their competitive level becomes high. So when we talk of skills courses we do not refer to artisans only, but all other fields are covered. I think the President is right, this is wha SA needs but companies must be ready too to give FET candidates the 60% training required by the curriculum by recruiting more of these candidates.

  • Catherine Martin

    While the President was giving his state of the nation speech another National Egocentric was doing his usual “me against the world” act in Durban – the ever effervescent Mr Blumenthal. I was interested that he laid blame for the slow delivery of SETAs on the shoulders of labour and business. These two parties had a strong voice in the SETA delivery mechanism, he said, a voice they choose to ignore in favour of whining about the state of SETAs. He is right. The main stakeholders of SETA boards, governing bodies, Chambers etc are business and labour. Instead of allowing SETAs to be populated with poorly skilled and low energy public servants, they could have put in place good high energy private sector managers to deliver effectively. And they could have kept SETAs on their toes by placing on SETA governing bodies, chambers, SGBs etc senior HR and HRD/Training managers and senior Union members, and not IR practitioners, junior trainers and factory shop stewards. Now that the President has announced that FET Colleges will be the main delivery mechanism for skills development, it looks like government will continue to “own” Training, and do it unto those who need it most: industry. Needless to say, neither FET Colleges nor Government have a clue or care a damn.

  • Nceba Ndzwayiba

    I think there has always been a clear indication of an intention to move towards the FET and Universities as primary training providers. The QCTO model makes referrence to accreditation of “Workplaces”, and an MoU agreement between Umalusi and CHE for provision of education and training. The model further makes referrence to Assessment Centres thus incorporating the Professional Body certification model. Accreditation of private training providers remains a vague area, which I think is being adressed in the Presidential speech.
    The most important question is the capacity of such FET Colleges in relation to the urgent skills demand required to drive the economy and to deal with broader needs indicated in the past and the current NSDS.

  • Baliwe Kama

    Good day Alan

    You have a point there: I almost forgot what the speech was all about, however the picture of Patricia’s boys Blue Suit a red tie and a matching hat is still very clear in my mind. Thanks to people like you who are there to keep us in business.

    Yes a point was made as to make FET colleges a primary site for skills development training. This is just a general statement and we will continue to speculate its meaning until such time it is broken down into its actual terms by its originators.

    The teacher unions could also be right by thinking this means moving back towards artisan training. This system worked for the then government. I do not know why it was changed it the first place. We could only improve on it. Had we done that we could have been close to reaching the skills development targets by now. We do want to be seen learned by introducing curriculum with big names such as NVCs and OBEs etc etc, at times which do not really help us much.

    According to this statement, the future of the SETAs is not so very clear. SETAs have since their inception been the main drivers of skills development. Now we hear that FETs colleges will be a primary site for skills development. This could also be good news for SETAs, in the sense that they will now have a back up support from FET colleges, where SETAs would play a high level role in the skills development.

    Before we can really comment on SETA funds, it would be good for us to understand where they come from.

    I am not sure if the 50 state FET colleges we currently have will be able to handle a lead role in providing the skills that the country need. This will need a very good strategy with a comprehensive plan for it to work. We have seen so many of those in the past and they have taken us no where.

    This is off the point.

    I am very unhappy about the quality of our matric students. There is just no ambition. A matric student will be happy & proud to produce a certificate indicating all subject being taken on standard grade. Only those who are daring enough will think of taking at least two at higher grade. Try assess them against ABET assessments/standards. Alas! Results, you do not want to know. The then model C schools are the one who still manage to produce good results. We should be asking ourselves what are they doing right? One will see this as a stupid question with an obvious answer. “previously advantaged vs previously disadvantaged”. What have we done to bring previously disadvantaged schools to the level of the then model C schools, was there something we could learn, adopt or even keep from the model C curriculum? Did we ever think of swooping teachers around? Cross pollinating schools etc, etc. putting systems in place so that when we are at least performing at an acceptable level try to introduce ambitious things like OBEs, NVCs etc etc,. do you expect these things to be a success where we still have under the tree schools? Who by the way are expected to implement OBE?

  • Catherine Martin

    FET Colleges and their predecessors have a history of non-delivery and the removal of N courses in favour of NCVs has only served to perpetuate the problem. That’s not to say we don’t need institutions like the FET colleges but we need to become more creative about delivery mechanisms for the FET band. Hurry up with the implementation of curriculum development through the QCTO, decentralize and allow privatization of delivery at FET Levels (what about PPPs in that band?), create opportunities for quality assurance at source – and in the process remove excess bureaucracy… then perhaps we’ll have a productive FET system that serves as one of the acceptable learning pathways not only to higher education but also to finding work.

  • Kate Miszewski

    I think if managed correctly this is absolutely the way to go. SA has a massive skills shortage and therefore needs a far greater emphasis on skills development( particularly those skills that encourage entrepreneurship opportunities) rather than the notion that everybody should get a university degree. However, we need to make acquisition of skills more sexy – rather than only those who cannot attend university should follow the skills development route.

  • Bernadette perumal

    It would be a blunder to move all the funds to FET, currently the FET’s cant cope with the work load. The SETA’s are doing very well. Many people received quality education due SETA intervention programmes.Artisans is definately the way to go. What what happens to our people who areilleterate and pre- illeterate. We need an illerate society to overcome crime and poverty. FET is not the vechile to drive the process. Let labour and SETa deals with what our country really need. Lets get it right first time