Nzimande calls for BRICS commitment implementation

Nzimande calls for BRICS commitment implementation

Higher Education and Training Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, says he would like to see implementation of the BRICS TVET Cooperation Alliance Charter.

Nzimande said the recent and highly successful BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit held in South Africa last week, placed the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system at the centre of skills development co-operation by members states.

Addressing the TVET Curriculum Transformation and Innovation Summit, currently underway at Vodaworld Dome in Midrand, Nzimande noted that BRICS had committed to strengthen collaboration in TVET amongst BRICS Member States through the hosting of a seminar to provide an overview of the TVET education systems and foster closer collaboration.

“BRICS emphasise that the TVET programmes and projects should be coordinated by relevant BRICS senior TVET officials and focal points assigned by their respective Ministries. This places TVET education at the centre of the developmental agenda of governments, supporting initiatives and interventions to revive and enhance the economy.

“As a result, TVET curriculum transformation is a crucial step towards unlocking skills development for the modern economy. As industries evolve and technology advances at an unprecedented rate, it becomes essential for TVET institutions to adapt their curricula to meet the changing needs of the job market,” Nzimande said.

The Minister argued that the traditional approach to TVET education, which focused solely on providing students with specific trade skills, is no longer sufficient in today’s dynamic and globalised economy.

Therefore, he said, to bridge the skills gap and equip individuals with the competencies required for the modern workforce, a comprehensive curriculum transformation is necessary.

“This transformation involves a shift from a narrow focus on technical skills to 21st century skills which advocates for a broader emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and adaptability.

“By integrating these 21st century skills into TVET curricula, students will be better prepared to navigate the complexities of the modern economy, where job roles are constantly evolving, and cross-disciplinary expertise is highly valued,” Nzimande said.

He said the inclusion of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, robotics, and data analytics in TVET curricula, will further equip students with the necessary digital skills.

Having regular curriculum reviews of TVET programs and qualifications aligned with the current needs of industry and society, was among the resolutions taken at the TVET Imbizo held in 2017.

Nzimande emphasised that the focus is on updating the content of current programs, by introducing modern delivery methods, integrating digital skills, and rationalizing outdated programs that no longer serve their intended purposes.

“In line with this objective, over 70 subjects in the NATED (National Accredited Technical Education Diploma) Report 191 programs have been reviewed since 2018. Additionally, in January this year, we introduced a new NCV (National Certificate Vocational) program in IT (Information Technology) and Computer Science focusing on Programming and Robotics.

“Ten of our TVET colleges are currently offering this program and more of our colleges are planning to offer this program from 2024. As a department, we are collaborating with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in reconstructing curricula for Engineering Studies to align with the rapidly changing industry needs and professional standards,” Nzimande highlighted.

He added that the prioritised fields currently undergoing reconstruction, include Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil Engineering.

The Minister also announced that the NATED N1 to N3 programs will be phased out from January 2024. –