Rumours abound regarding private providers and the NSDS 3 19

There are many rumours circulating about the future of Private Providers in terms of the NSDS 3. Some of these have been started by prominent people from SETAS and other so called professional associations. To quote from an advertisment on Skills Portal

The proposal is simple:


The document as put forward by the Minister is a first draft for consultation. Mention is made in this document of the need for the upliftment of public providers and the need for public and private providers to form partnerships with workplaces – and I might add for very good reason.

In addition the document specifically states in section 5.4 – “This should not be read to infer ther is no role for private providers – it does signal there is a need to uplift public providers and where private providers can assist with this task their contribution will be highly appreciated“.

How anyone can read into this that private providers are to be done away with is beyond me and intrigues me. Why are private providers being so unprofessional and so insecure?

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About Des Squire

I specialise in Employment Equity and Skills Development issues. Qualified facilitator, assessor, moderator, verifier and SDF. Available for any related assignments and or freelance work. If ou have a need let's meet to discuss. Quotes for training on request.

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19 thoughts on “Rumours abound regarding private providers and the NSDS 3

  • Des Squire Post author

    Hi Catherine
    What a lovely response. I often wonder if people, when making comment, ever stop to think of the people like yourself who are doing a great job and who they are offending. Here again I refer in particular to those in positions of importance, who should rather “save their breath to cool their porridge” – This unfortunately has become a trade mark of many. What I am waiting to see is what the outcome of the discussions will be and when the final draft of NSDS 3 is published I wonder how many will admit they were mistaken.

  • Catherine Anne Robertson

    I share Des Squire’s optimism. I have never in my MANY years in education worked with a department as committed as DHET, who have shown that they have a broader vision of an single, integrated system of education, who listen to the people on the ground and who actually keep to their deadlines! Rome was not built in a day and it’s going to take time to set right a messy situation that they inherited. I totally agree with Des. I also cannot understand how people could misread and misrepresent the minister’s intentions. There’ve been so much hurtful generalisation and a general feeling of righteous indignation from all quarters, that I also want to say stop, think and then talk! I’ve spent many years working for a public FET and I have all the confidence in the world in the ones I’ve had anything to do with. I also don’t want to be compared with the non-performing ones but then again, there are some private FETs that are excellent, and some that are terrible which I’m sure many private providers want nothing to do with. Stop the generalisations and start finding ways of looking at what the real issues are: namely, how are we going to pull together to train the right people for the right job? How are we going to partner the workplace so that the learner, key to skills development, gets exposed to the essential experiential learning required to do the job? It is the employer’s duty to become involved with training and not leave it to the training provider alone. And let’s stop criticising the trainer, whomever s/he might be, unless we name and shame and ensure our own house is in order.

  • Des Squire Post author

    Thank you Malcolm for the comment and the poem. What is the souce of the poem? You perhaps?

    We shall have to wait and see if Realism or Optimism prevail – I remain confidently optimistic.

  • Des Squire Post author

    Hi All
    I am glad to see, judging from the responses received, that sanity does in fact prevail.
    I attended one of the discussion groups yesterday and must admit I was shocked and annoyed at how – so called professional and educated people – could possibly speak so much rubbish.
    How theY have misread and mis-interpreted the discussion document is beyone me. Where they arrived at their conclusionf from defies reason.
    Forgive me for not commenting further now but I promise I will write my personal report back later today.
    In the meantime I urge you all to keep an open mind, do not be swayed by the negative thinkers, stay positve and let your professional approach to business and open, honest discussion prevail.
    I posted an article yesterday to whcih I attached the discussion document – please read this and study the document and judge for yourself.

  • Nkosinathi Thango

    I have also got profound concern about the manner in which “some” private providers conduct their business, the quality of education and training is not a priority but money is on top of the agenda. Education must not be traded as a commodity, the state must find the ways of implementing the skills development without compromising quality od education and training. Some private providers fight for the registration of assessors and moderators who are not even subject matter experts in respective fields, this create a scenario where the blind is leading the blind.

  • Ian Webster

    But, sorry Des. My last comment is getting away from the topic you introduced. You were not discussing the merits or otherwise of private/public providers but rather, why no-one reads documents properly, and why those that do (even SETA CEOs) misrepresent what they have (presumably) read! Good question.

  • Ian Webster

    I’m afraid that we have a strong belief that a mere transfer of funds and other resources from the (effective) private sector to the (ineffective) public sector will fix everything.
    We bemoan the vast resources in private health-care, private schools (even “model C” schools), private mines, etc, as compared with the poorly resourced and poorly performing public sector.
    We think that taking funds away from former and giving them to the latter will solve everything.

    Unfortunately, performance failure has little to do with a lack of resources and a great deal to do with lack of MANAGEMENT. We don’t have the expertise, or (very often) the political will, to manage what we have. To pump more resources into ineffective systems will not fix anything.

    If business isn’t using the public sector providers it’s because those providers do not offer what business wants or needs. But that’s a generalisation. The big institutions cannot expect to adapt quickly to the changing needs of business. If all was working well, they should be able to provide the core programmes, including apprenticeship-type courses (@Johan van der Merwe, I did say “should”). And the private providers should then be encouraged (not penalised) to provide the ever-changing, adaptable, ad-hoc, type programmes that are impossible to fit into an NQF/SAQA regulated environment, and which private providers can do so well.
    Again a generalisation, but both types of training are required and should be catered for. Business should not be penalised because it happens to need unregistered (formal or informal) training.

  • Johan van der Merwe

    Hi Des,

    We are in the technical training industry and my point of view is purely in accordance to this field. The most important fact that everybody seems te miss, who must benefit from this training? Is it the private/public providers or the student? Again, I refer to technical training i.e. learnerships and apprenticeships. For those in the know it is clear that the public providers will never be able to deliver the same standard of training as the private providers. Although public providers are already being funded by the DOE, their technical training centres are falling apart and is based on technology of the 1980’s or earlier. The public providers do not have the capacity to work closely with employers, there need to be on site assessments which very few public providers empoys the people with the technical know how (trainers that have been working in that particular industry). To state that poor south africans can not afford the training at private providers, is a misconception. The SETA pays for this training and in fact, the student pays not a sent, and is employed while doing the learnership/apprenticeship. Believe me, we are not insecure or unproffesional. Rather passionate about quality training FOR ALL, is this not how it should be? How will diverting money into a lost cause benefit our country?

  • Bianca - Anne P Moll

    I for one believe that we should not get up and arms about this issue. In the end Private Providers are going to be in the same position as previously. Partnering up with the various Public Providers will benefit both parties and in the end the most the Learner.

  • Leon du Plessis

    We need to be careful to create the impression that all private training providers are “bad news.”

    I am the owner of a such a private provider (in our second year) and have always strive to put the interest of our clients up front. Although we currently focus on non credit bearing workshops we do have a QMS in place to ensure that our products and services add value to the participants and those we serve.

    I am for change – but with a possitive approach and to debate the matter with the view that the private provider does have a role to play.

  • Pieter B Swart

    I, for one don’t always read documents and trust that “others”, especially when they represent a SETA as the CEO, will give me the correct information. So much effort / money is being spend exploiting this issue, that I look forward to see what the end result of all of this will be.

  • Vincent Zulu

    How is it possible that thousands of private propviders will be able to form partenrships with few tens of providers? A number of private providers will be unable to form any partnerships with the public FETs. Numbers just dont add up.

    We can argue till tommorow but the intention or at least the wording of the NSDS 3 is almost similar to the closing of teacher colleges in favour of public FETs and we all know what happens when the state is fixing somthing that is not broken.

    I would have loved an idea of rooting out incompetent dubious money conerned private providers, the resultbeing high quality private provider sector.
    There should have been a specific project to capacitate public providers, who, I must add, have a very poor record of cooperation with the SETAs.

    Private providers should not rest on their laurels and start scenario planning and align their strategies with the NSDS proposal as they is a history of drafts going unchanged despite unahppiness in some circles.

  • Jacki Lyle

    Sometimes I think that people interpret things in a twisted way just for the sake of being negative. And to make a quick buck in this case! Surely there should be some sort of reprimand issued to these people by the relevant authorities?

  • Rod Weimann

    The points you bring to the table are helpfull perspective but do not provide a final answer.
    As with any change process the discussion itself creates uncertainty as change is implied.
    Some of the SETA’s have further fueled the uncertainty by their inaction ( they too are however uncertain)
    I suggest we need to debate the interests of training and development as a means to developing our capacity to perform as a nation. This may mean that we neeed to make adjustments at various levels.
    A danger is that the suggestion of the entrenchment of FETs etc may lead to a centralization approach and that the fallout will be further beaurocracy and the widening of the skills gaps.
    Some SETA’s are already applying FET’s first as an approach to allocations at the expense of member organization needs. This is prefaced by because the minister…. I say this not to protect the priate provider but rather the choicees avilable to member orgs to choose who they wish to use for service provision based on the value add of the provider.
    I must hasten to add this is but another perspective which needs to be addded to the discussion.

  • Bianca - Anne P Moll

    I do support the idea that Public Providers should be more capacitated to address certain skills shortages within the Country. Again the Skills Shortages – I believe there is more skills outside and that many skilled people are overlooked due to them being at the wrong places.

    I aslo feel that the role of Private Providers should not be mislooked, since they have a great role to play within the Skills revolution within South Africa. Yes, I know many Private Providers is just there to make a million and “be gone” forever. But Private Providers has an important role to play.