Skills Development Providers (SDPs) & Training Providers

DHET call to private providers – to contribute to an integrated PSET ecosystem

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    Many members know that the Association of Private Providers of Education Training and Development (APPETD) represents private providers on the National Skills Authority (NSA).

    The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) under Minister Nzimande has charged APPETD with consulting ALL private providers. APPETD is charged not only with consulting with all their members, but also all private providers. APPETD needs urgently to formulate a response and to report back to the DHET on: the challenges raised by COVID-19, and the potential solutions.

    In his last media presentation (30 April 2020), the Minister indicated that we need to find ways to support students in advancing their studies during this year. Therefore, the questions raised are on how to proceed; what the private providers are able to contribute; and what the stumbling blocks are to the acceleration of all forms of distance learning, online, or blended learning – all forms of learning for all students at all levels – to achieve the objective of advancing student learning during this year.

    APPETD is representing private providers under all three of the Quality Councils – that is: Council for Higher Education (CHE), the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), and Umalusi. In the skills development world, that includes all Skills Development Providers (SDPs) accredited under QCTO, as well as all Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) accredited providers.

    The objective for APPETD is to provide a report as a collective, identifying key issues, problems, and solutions. DHET recognise that while they can develop solutions for the public sector, they are not close enough to the issues that private providers face.

    This is a very brief highlight summary of issues raised at an APPETD online meeting today (2 May 2020) – please note whether these issues cover the challenges that private providers face. Should further points need to be added. There are two email addresses at the bottom of this discussion for your further submissions.

    Problems and proposals:
    1. QCTO and SETA reluctance to accept all forms of distance, blended, open, online learning.
    Propose: All forms of learning be accepted – and not simply for 6 months. If providers are going to invest, then these changes need to proceed into the future.

    2. Data: even zero-rated faces issues of international servers.
    Propose: All solutions for data cost reduction for public sector, needs to apply to private sector as well.

    3. Data: the providers’ employees – not just students – costs that were not anticipated.
    Propose: All solutions for public to be extended to private providers.

    4. Laptops availability and practicality – in addition to data costs, also costs of laptops. Laptops for rural areas not practical without electricity.
    Propose: Possibility of solar powered laptops, and also requirement for additional cell phone towers, as significant use of cell phones to support, and provide services.

    5. Finance a major issue: need to pay support staff, and all stipends must be paid. Also delay in funding windows so Learnerships not taken up by employers and reduced income to providers.
    Propose: Need to treat private providers same as public providers – to see as one with similar problems. Consider how to re-start Learnerships.

    6. Psychological support required not only for students but also parents.
    Propose: Possibility online learning for all.

    7. Sectors as come back to work.
    Propose: Phased approach. 90% of APPETD members in position to transition to online/blended learning. 10% not possible as requires high tech or similar on site. Private providers feel able to support distancing, but cannot guarantee learner socialising behaviour. Split classes – but as above – cost implication.
    Phased return of staff to prepare for implementation – also costs expended before income generated.

    8. PPE: Learners should have before leaving house, but additional sanitising.
    Costs of having extra PPE available and sanitising.
    Propose: Need to treat private providers same as public providers.

    9. Level of competence of providers to produce and deliver online/blended learning.
    Propose: APPETD will produce and deliver workshops with other specialist providers to produce webinars on development – also platforms for delivery may be provided by APPETD members.
    APPETD also offering to provide support to QCTO and SETA staff unfamiliar with new technologies.

    10. QCTO and SETA form of summative assessment.
    Propose: Need to engage on different forms of summative assessment – greater use of formative assessment. Technicalities of electronic signatures, etc. QCTO & SETAs need to be prepared to vary the present requirements.
    (A letter is expected from Mr Naidoo at QCTO.) Author note QCTO mandate the SETAs and therefore has the ultimate authority.

    11. The requirement for documents to be re-certified after 3 months. Problem after current delays – will require everything to be re-certified.
    Propose: This requirement waived – at least for the current period.

    Discussions included:
    Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) requirements for return to workplaces (or training centres), the role that APPETD can play in pre-screening before any Inspector visits.

    Issues of liability – all providers advised to check their own situation with their insurers.

    Tenders – it is understood that all tenders should have been postponed – even though it appears at least one has been published – so providers need to check if intending to tender.

    Projects that have been completed before the lockdown, will be paid out.

    Stipends must continue to be paid.

    Caution – verify whether requirements have been gazetted – compared to discussion documents.

    It does not take much to realise that this is a major opportunity for all stakeholders to develop an integrated, co-operative approach – to all aspects of Post-School Education and Training (PSET) – to derive more from this COVID-19 disrupted period – than we had before – to create an integrated PSET ecosystem. (Term courtesy of Prof Swartz)

    Linda Ingram – APPETD Chair
    Cynthia Reynders APPETD CEO

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    Maryna Ritter

    It was an absolute very good meeting this morning.
    I would like to thank all involved for their input and work behind the screens (and more to come), we really do appreciate every hour and effort spent.

    I cannot stress it more, how important it is for ALL private providers to form part of this process.
    We do excellent work, and if we want to train in the future, we all have to work together to make this work!

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by Maryna Ritter.

    Thanks Maryna – yes you are correct – we need to work at this because the COVID-19 is not going away. This will still be with us – so we need to work together.

    I think that we can achieve an integrated public private environment to the interest and benefit of everyone.


    Thank you for this information! This effort is truely appreciated! I will definately join the discussion to work towards a collaborative solution.


    Thank you Liezl – your experience and expertise will be valuable.

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