Generic Skills in Education 8

Globalization and technological innovation are changing the labour market. The economy is becoming more and more knowledge-intensive.  The question is:  Does training providers prepare their students for the workplace?  The focus is often too much on knowledge and not on generic skills.

The NQF in SA was introduced in 1995, aiming to address the educational, social and economic problems caused by apartheid. In the apartheid years many blacks were deprived of the opportunity to education and/ or proper education. Models of other countries had an influence on the design.

A comprehensive framework of eight levels was developed, but the NQF act of 2008 makes provision for ten levels.  The purpose is to ensure coherence in learning achievement and to facilitate the assessment.  International trends were taken in to consideration.

There are ten level descriptors to describe the applied competencies:

Scope of knowledge, knowledge literacy, method & procedure, problem solving, ethics and professional practice, assessing/processing/ managing information, producing & communicating of information, context & systems, management of learning and accountability.

These ten descriptors are a very good starting point to determine generic skills.  The descriptors must be applied in the different contexts.

It will be interesting to hear what other people’s views are on what generic skills should be taught and when this should start.  My personal opinion is that this should start already in the pre-school years and at home!

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8 thoughts on “Generic Skills in Education

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Henry, I fully support what you are saying;

    ‘If we can emulate the same reaction that was displayed in response to the e-tollgate system maybe we can move forward to make education prominent in our daily lexicon.’

    As a nation we get upset about many things and will even go to extreme lengths, but when it come to education and our children, we ‘complain’, but what are we doing about it?

  • Henry Khehla Malishe

    The problem is that we are nation that does not have a national agenda on education, as long as we dont have one system of education supported with all the necessary and proper equipment and qualified teachers we are going nowhere. First thing first, our daily conversation does not feature the issue of the importance of education as a cornerstone for human capital development and economic growth we much aspire,instead we over occupy ourselves with soccer and rugby and these plastic celebrities. We as parents we have to blame ourselves for this situation, we have taken a backseat when it comes to the education of our children. Tertiary institutions produce graduates who are not demanded by the developing and growing economy like ours, business the drivers of economic growth does not engage academic institutions to advise them what kind of skills are needed by their industries and tailor make a specific course, the government on another angle is chop and changing systems like a beauty contestant, here we are as citizens I won;t say we are watching but we are not even concern about the issue that concern the future of our children. If we can emulate the same reaction that was displayed in response to the e-tolgate system maybe we can move forward to make education prominent in our daily lexicon. It is upon us as citizens to say what kind of education must be given to our children, currently the state of education is held into ransom by a particular outfit for their narrow sinister interests which is always use the future of our children as apolitical football to settle its scores with the regime and we turn a blind eye on that, and I ask the question what is happening with us, It seems we have retired from thinking and let other people do for us, Shame on us!

  • Beverley Busisiwe Mokoto

    One of the key challenges in our society is the application of knowledge literacy to solve problems. Problem solving is encouraged in schools but in may instances this is in isolation of knowledge gained. Our learners cannot identify the link between knowledge literacy , application and problem solving. I believe if we introduce our children to these key concepts at an early age like in Japan, we may be able to develop critical thinkers and problem solvers. We need knowledge that can be implemented, critiqued and be of use to our society.

  • wilmaguest-mouton

    Hi my view is that we are forever busy with the basics.  Teach a child the basic skills and build o it in later life.  E.g. the basic of communication, conflict management etc.  Principles never change, that is universal truths, but we need to learn to apply it properly in the world we live. 


  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    I read that  Ellin Galinsky said children need the following ‘essential life  skills’:

    • Focus and self control
    • Perspective taking
    • Communicating
    • Making connections
    • Critical thinking
    • Taking on challenges
    • Self-directed, engaged learning

    It adds to the argument that skills should be learned from a young age.  We all need the skills Ellin listed.

  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Today at a meeting we discussed the lack of skills that early childhood development educators have.  My view is that we are applying models of other countries, where as South Africa’s situation is unique.  We should look at globalization, but first focus on our own country and then see how we can adapt.

    I am also wondering if the lack of skills is not caused by the circumstances under which many of these people live …. poverty, abuse …

  • Lynette Barbara Myers

    All South Africans need to alter their mindsets when it comes to the relationship between education and a sustainable income/career. The best advice I was ever given was to make sure I could do something most other people  could not do for themselves and  preferably need to have done continuously. Hence your very sensible list Sylvia , of jobs that will never go out of fashion!!!

  • Sylvia F. Hammond

    What I have noticed from the current crop of school leavers is that they have received minimal if any career guidance. In addition even when they have an idea of what they want to do, they have no knowledge of how to market themselves in order to pursue that career.  They have a passive “you call me when you have a job” approach, rather than an “I’m taking charge of the process of marketing myself and finding what I want, or alternatively I can make my own future”.  In short, they are completely unprepared for a world of work where many people do more than one thing part time, or do something in part-time employment and something on their own, or run their own business – providing a service, selling something, or making and selling something.  In today’s world the proportion of people who will be in traditional permanent full-time work for a large part of their life will decrease. 

    However, the growth area and what will not change – but only increase – is the provision of personal services that cannot be done by a machine or electronic device.  Some ideas I can think of – community worker, a masseuse, hairdresser, barber, career guidance counsellor, builder, funeral undertaker, teacher, child care, old age care, personal coach, chef, agriculture, tour guide, driver, translator, artist, musician, gardener, landscape gardener, decorator, fashion design, model – I’m sure that there are many more. So individuals need to be given the skills to identify their natural talent and to creatively make a living for themselves. 

    In my opinion that is what they need – how to make a living – not necessarily the concept of a permanent “job” in the old fashioned sense.  I suspect that many educators don’t understand the world of work and how it has changed over the last two decades, so they are unable to appropriately guide the young people they teach.