Germany’s KfW Development Bank and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) have signed an agreement to establish the first in-service skills development centre for technical vocational education and training (TVET) lecturers at the Ekurhuleni East College, the German Embassy said in a September 1 statement.
This was part of the bilateral development cooperation between Germany and South Africa, and provides for a grant to the DHET in the amount of €8.25-million, or R136-million.
The centre will offer training for lecturers from TVET colleges across South Africa in the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering. These areas offer potential for employment and growth of South Africa’s manufacturing sector, said German Ambassador to South Africa Martin Schäfer.
The centre is intended to improve the quality of teaching and address shortfalls at TVET colleges and, ultimately, South Africa’s youth unemployment crisis.
The project will feed into current policy reform processes by the DHET in the TVET lecturer qualification field and will help address minimum qualification requirements, as well as the development of a framework for continuous professional development (CPD). Lecturers’ qualifications will be more relevant to the marketplace and contribute to graduates’ employability.
“There couldn’t be a better moment than today. We all strive to kickstart our economies in the middle of the pandemic. We need growth, we need employment opportunities and we need bright young people with the right skills. Vocational training is probably the best means to achieve these objectives. That is why we want to strengthen and capacitate South African TVET colleges,” said Schäfer.
KfW Southern Africa director Dr Thomas Duve added that the development bank looked forward to supporting the South African government to improve the quality of teaching by college lecturers and to strengthen links with industry to enhance employment opportunities for young people.
"In terms of the National Strategic Framework for the implementation of the National Development Plan, the DHET’s main objective is to ensure that there is a skilled and capable workforce to support economic growth," DHET curriculum and programme innovation chief director Gerda Magnus explained.
“It is the mission of the DHET to develop capable, well-educated and skilled citizens who can compete in a sustainable, diversified and knowledge-intensive international economy which meets the development goals of the country," she said.
The embassy added that Germany had contributed about R35-billion in official development assistance to South Africa since 1993.
"Current cooperation focuses on the priority areas of green economy, technical and vocational education and training and skills development, good governance and public administration, as well as human immunodeficiency virus prevention," the statement concluded.