World TVET Database - Country Profiles

As of April 2017, a number of updated Country TVET Profiles will be available in a new and more user friendly format with some new features (for example, statistical information).

South Africa

TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
South Africa
published: 2014-01-17

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET mission

TVET, also known in South Africa as Further Education Training (FET), seeks to function as a high quality, transformed and responsive system. The government of South Africa uses this system to promote the integration of education and training, as well as the enhancement of learner mobility and progression, to ultimately meet human resource needs. TVET systems are built to address these needs and to further promote personal, social, civic and economic development in their country. Their mission is to provide people with intermediate to high-level skills that would lay a foundation forhigher education, facilitate the transition from school to work and develop autonomous life-long learners.

TVET strategy

The government plays a key role in building skills for national development. After Democracy in 1994, educational sectors rallied behind a set of national imperatives found in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the National Industrial Policy Framework (NIPF) and the Industrial Policy Action Plans (IPAP). Additionally, the government erected frameworks, passed acts, and consolidated the Departments of Education and Labor under the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) in order to meet South Africa’s present and future skill needs. Today, the most updated skill needs are developed and assessed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Training and published in the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS III) for 2011-2016.

Currently, South Africa responds to changes through the collective action of stakeholders: government, business organisations, trade unions, constituency bodies and delivery agents (for example: SETA, public bodies, employers, trade and professional bodies, public and private training providers, community-based organisations and NGOs). This partnership ensures a national and local approach to change.

TVET legislation

The South African Constitution (1996), Section 29 states that, ‘Everyone has a right to a basic education, including adult basic education, and to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.’ The following legislation plays a critical role in establishing, governing, assessing and funding TVET in South Africa:

  • South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act No. 58 (1995): provides for the development and implementation of NQF; establishment of SAQA.
  • National Education Policy Act (1996): articulates the policy, legislative and monitoring responsibilities of the Minister and formalises the relations between national and provincial education authorities.
  • Higher Education Act No. 101 (1997): provides a unified system of higher education; established the Council of Higher Education.
  • Further Education and Training Act No. 98 (1998): provides for the governance and funding of FET colleges.
  • Skills Development Act No. 97 (1998) - amended in 2008: creates the National Skills Agency, established Quality Council for Trades and Occupations, regulates skills development apprenticeships and learnerships.
  • General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Act No. 58 (2001): establishes UMALUSI as the quality council for FET colleges.
  • Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges Act No. 16 (2006): provides regulation of FET, establishment, governance, funding and employment of staff for public FET and registration of private FET colleges.
  • National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act No. 67: manages the NQF, its qualifications and quality assurance.
Sources:

  • Department of Higher Education and Training (2011). National Skills Development Strategy III. Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • Department of Higher Education and Training (2013). Annual Report 2012-2013. Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • Elliott, G (2010). National report on the literature review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for South Africa. South Africa: UNESCO.
  • Ministry of Education (1998). Education White Paper 4 - A Programme for the Transformation of Further Education and Training. Pretoria: Ministry of Education.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. South Africa. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


Back to top

2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. South Africa. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Formal TVET system

South Africa’s public education system is organised into three large clusters: General Education and Training (GET), Further Education and Training (FET/TVET) and Higher Education and Training (HET). These clusters are then further distributed into levels (pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher education) as well as sectors (public ordinary school, independent school, special schools, technical colleges, teacher training, technikons, also known as university of technology and university training colleges).

TVET fulfils levels two, three and four of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). While grades 10-12 are not compulsory, students are required to complete a minimum number of years in order to receive a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or a National Certificate (Vocational) I, II or III (NCV I/NCV II/NCVIII). After reaching this level of education, students can either continue with further academic schooling or enroll in intermediate vocational education at technical colleges, community colleges or private colleges.

HET represents all forms of formal education beyond the fourth level of NQF. Technikons, offer one, two, three and four-year certificates or diplomas to interest Colleges and universities offer diplomas in education, nursing after three and four years respectively. With each increasing level (five, six, seven, eight, nine, and 10), a student has the opportunity to receive a higher certificate, an advanced diploma or non-professional bachelors, bachelor’s honours, postgraduate diplomas, masters or a doctorate.

The TVET system bridges individuals and communities together for purposes human resource development. There are 50 multi-campus TVET colleges with a wide-range of local and regional differences between them. These colleges offer 15 subject areas with a range of specialisations.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

In contrast to the documentation of the public TVET sector in South Africa, there is a dearth of research and documentation in the areas of not-for-profit, for-profit and in-house aspects of TVET.

The informal domain of TVET, while potentially rich, also remains obscure.

Sources:

  • Elliott, G (2010). National report on the literature review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for South Africa. South Africa: UNESCO.
  • Nuffic (2012). Country module South Africa. The Hague: Netherlands organisation for international cooperation in higher education.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. South Africa. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


Back to top

3. Governance and financing

Governance

South Africa’s public TVET system underwent a gradual paradigm shift after the country achieved political democracy in 1994. The new governance framework was based on the principles of cooperative governance that gave the government a strong steering role, TVET institutions substantial power and partnerships between the government, organised business, labour and communities.

The private TVET institutions fall under the governance of their respective director-generals. However, they are encouraged to have the necessary infrastructure and resources for quality TVET programmes in order to be registered and governed under DHET.

The government steers TVET in several ways – all of these actions are centralised in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The government’s primary responsibility is to develop policy, norms and standards. Other responsibilities include the development of a national curriculum, staff development, student and programme targeting, funding and updating policy implementation.

The National Skills Fund is also established to support priority skills and innovative research in high-level occupationally directed programmes from universities to the workplace. This fund is known as a ‘catalytic’ fund because it promotes strategic partnerships an innovation in project delivery. The Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic Learning (PIVOTAL) grant functions similarly, but with a focus on providing access to professional placements, work-integrated learning, apprenticeships, learnerships, internships, skills programs and work-experience placements.

The Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) currently act as the primary source for providing credible information on the supply and demand for skills. SETA also distributes discretionary funds for purposes of upgrading skills in the workforce. Alongside SETA, large corporate employers and state-owned enterprises cooperate with the relevant education and training institutions to provide training and staff to address educational needs. Partnerships between the DHET, SETA, employers, private provider and public TVET colleges are able to meet the industry needs throughout the country. SETA act as the bridge between students and workplaces by creating interventions and shaping solutions on skill demands within a given sector. Since SETA is backed by employers and workers, they are considered as a credible and authoritative voice on skills.

TVET institutions practice a tripartite governance structure consisting of a council, an academic board and a student representative council. Each institution enjoys strong stakeholder representation. For example, the council consists of the principal, five external persons appointed by the member of the Executive Council, one member of the academic board, one representative donor member, one lecturer of the public college, one support staff representative and two students from the public college. Their primary role is to govern, develop a strategic plan for the mission, goals, vision and funding plans for the college, and exist as a suitable advisory structure.

Partnerships are developing between government, organised business, labour and communities. In addition to these partnerships, the DHET adopts the Occupational Qualifications sub-framework of the NQF and cooperates with the UMALUSI and Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in order to maintain credible standards for the workplace.

Financing

Funding is instrumental in making TVET institutions effective in achieving national goals, performance enhancement, widened participation and promotion of equity and redress. There are four kinds of funding: formula funding of TVET training programmes, funding for special purposes, student financial aid and private funding.

Each provincial education department uses the budgetary principles of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) to fund TVET colleges. Funds originate from the state, any donations/contributions received by the public college, money raised by the public college, money raised by means of loans, income derived from investments, money received from services rendered, money payable by students for further education and training programmes provided by the public college, money from students/employers for accommodation or other services provided by the public college and funds from other sources.

Sources:

  • Elliott, G (2010). National report on the literature review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for South Africa. South Africa: UNESCO.
  • Ministry of Education (1998). Education White Paper 4 - A Programme for the Transformation of Further Education and Training. Pretoria: Ministry of Education.
  • Republic of South Africa (2006). Further education and training colleges act 16. Pretoria: Government Gazette.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. South Africa. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


    Back to top

    4. TVET teachers and trainers

TVET teachers, otherwise known as FET College Lecturers, adhere to the qualification requirements of the NQF. The South African Council for Educators (SACE) safeguards the professionalism of teachers. Higher education standards are determined by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). The Policy on Professional Qualifications for Further Education and Training College Lecturers outlines qualifications specific for FET college lecturers.

Competent teachers are expected to learn and teach disciplinary knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, incorporate practical- and work- integrated learning, fundamental learning and situational learning. Minimum professional qualifications are a diploma in vocational education and an advanced diploma in vocational teaching. Post-professional qualifications can include an advanced certificate in vocational teaching, an advanced diploma in vocational education and a post-graduate diploma in vocational education. FET college lecturers may also possess other forms of qualifications such as undergraduate or postgraduate degrees, diplomas, certificates and honours.

Sources:

  • Department of Higher Education and Training (2012). Policy on Professional Qualifications for Further Education and Training College Lecturers. Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training.


    Back to top

    5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

There are two qualification certificates offered in South Africa: the vocational and technical system certificate (NATED) that has been phased out and replaced by the National Certificate (Vocational) (NCV). The examination process is both administered and funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training. The provincial departments are responsible for monitoring the exams. The NC(V) requires internal and external assessments. The Internal Continuous Assessment (ICASS) requires that a student submits a Portfolio of Evidence with 25 percent weight on fundamental subjects and 50 percent weight on vocational subjects. The external assessment is a written examination, also called Integrated Summative Assessment Task (ISAT) that places 50 percent weight on vocational subjects and 75 percent weight on fundamental subjects.

A student receives a NC(V) certificate after he/she has completed the programme requirements for Levels 2 and 3, complied with the internal and external assessment requirements, achieved 40% in two fundamental subjects, 30 percent in mathematics and 50 percent in all four vocational subjects. Additionally, one must also complete a trade test administered by the Institute for the national Development of Learnerships, Employment Skills and Labour Assessments (INDELA).

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) Act No. 67 in 2008 instituted the NQF as a single integrated system with three coordinated qualifications frameworks: general and further education and training, higher education and trades and occupations. This overarching framework contains learning achievements; facilitate access to, and mobility and progression within, education, training and career paths; enhance the quality of education and training; and accelerate the redress of past unfair discrimination in education, training and employment opportunities. There are ten NQF levels that are assessed according to ten categories every five years. These categories used in the level descriptors are:

  • Scope of knowledge
  • Knowledge literacy
  • Method and procedure
  • Problem solving
  • Ethics and professional practice
  • Accessing, processing and managing information
  • Producing and communicating of information
  • Context and systems
  • Management of learning
  • Accountability
The NQF has a juristic identity possessing the force of law for its enactment by statutory institutions and regulations. The NQF is comprehensive and affects all its respective providers. Finally, the NQF is prescriptive and lists its compliance requirements in detail.

Quality assurance

There are three major TVET quality authorities: the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (UMALUSI) and Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO). The SAQA is composed by stakeholders in education and training who oversee the development and implementation of the NQF. Under them, the national Standard Bodies, generate and recommend qualifications and standards. The Education and Training Quality Assurance Regulations (ETQA) are responsible for the accreditation of education and training providers. UMALUSI ensures that the education providers have the capacity to deliver and assess qualifications and learning programs. They are responsible for certifying NCV, NSC, Vocational senior certificates, etc… The QCTO is responsible for education and training in the workplace. In addition to these three main quality authorities, the Council on Higher Education (CHE) advises the Minister for Higher Education and Training on higher education policy issues and ensures the quality of higher education in South Africa through the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC).

Sources:

  • Elliott, G (2010). National report on the literature review of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for South Africa. South Africa: UNESCO.
  • South African Quality Authority (2012). The South African Qualifications Authority Level Descriptors for the South African National Qualifications Framework. Waterkloof: South African Quality Authority.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. South Africa. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.


    Back to top

    6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

The government works on improving access to post-school education and employment. Infrastructure is an important starting point for access, and the government plans to provide a three year university funding cycle to support on infrastructure development. In addition to infrastructure, the FET Turnaround Strategy is focused on building the capacity of TVET colleges with a focus on management and human resources. The government has also distributed R2.5 billion for the refurbishment of FET colleges. While this helps build, support and resource the public TVET colleges, South Africa is considering a funding strategy that is more sustainable for the long term. The government has also created a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) that would provide financial aid to academically deserving students from poor households. Finally, the government established the National Artisan Development Support Centre (NADSC), a three-year project funded by the National Skills Fund to provide students with specialised skills for the artisan sector of their economy.

Challenges

DHET centralised all higher education institutions, colleges and adult education institutions and the skills levy institution into one department, creating challenges for TVET at the institutional level. These challenges include the lack of quantity, diversity and quality of TVET colleges.

The South African government addressed the problem of quantity by establishing 12 new TVET colleges in rural Kwazu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpomalanga. The first students are scheduled to enrol in the year 2014. The diversification of TVET colleges, however, lags behind due to capacity constraints and the lack of coherence and cooperation between educational institutions and the labour market.

South Africa also carries a history of apartheid and colonialism that continues to foster inequalities and multiple forms of discrimination against black, poor, female, or disabled students. Quality, that is supposed to be developed and implemented by quality assurance bodies, also needs to be strengthened alongside the expansion project of TVET colleges in South Africa. The policy on “Professional Qualifications for Lecturers in Technical and Vocational Education and Training” is being prepared for publication to better prepare TVET teachers and trainers. While this is very important for maintaining the quality of TVET colleges, South Africa is currently grappling with the task of simplifying the NQF so that the training actively reflects the ten NQF levels.

Sources:

  • Department of Higher Education and Training (2012). Green Paper for post-school education and training. Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • Department of Higher Education and Training (2013). Annual Report 2012-2013. Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training.


    Back to top

    7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)


2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

48.24
48.92
49.60
50.27
50.89
51.45
Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+1.33 %


For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
24.74 23.50
female male  
25.12 23.80
female male  
25.50 24.11
female male  
25.86 24.41
female male  
26.20 24.69
female male  
26.50 24.95
female male  

51.29 %

51.34 %

51.4 %

51.45 %

51.48 %

51.5 %



Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

GDP per capita (currency: US$)


2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012


5 234

5 468

5 930

5 598

7 226

7 266

7 943

7 508


Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on World Bank database of World Development Indicators and Global Development Finance

Employment (Million)


total female male
Population

51.45

26.50 24.95
.
Labour Force
37.1%
Labour Force Rate

37.1%

31.5%

43.1%

Labour Force

19.08

8.34 (43.7%) 10.75 (56.3%)
Unemployment Rate

21.9%

25%

19.4%

.
Unemployment
21.9%
Unemployed

4.17

2.09 (50%) 2.09 (50%)


Youth Employment (Million)


total youth total female male
Population 51.45 10.07 (19.6%) 0.66 (6.5%) 0.94 (9.3%)
.
Labour Force Rate

27.8%

192.2%

164.8%

Labour Force 19.08 2.80 (14.7%) 1.26 (45%) 1.54 (55%)
Unemployment Rate

48.1%

52.5%

44.6%

.
Unemployed 4.17 1.35 (32.3%) 0.66 (49.1%) 0.69 (50.9%)
Unemployed
youth : total

32.3%

.

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on ILO: unemployment indicators by sex

Participation in TVET (% of upper secondary)


2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

8%

9%

9%

9%

10%

Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2009

+6.25 %

6 11
female male  
7 11
female male  
7 11
female male  
8 11
female male  
8 12
female male  
(ratio 35.3 %) (ratio 38.9 %) (ratio 38.9 %) (ratio 42.1 %) (ratio 40 %)





Back to top

8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions


Back to top

9. References, bibliography, abbreviations

References

Further reading

  • Akoojee, S. and S. McGrath (2007). Public and private Further Education and Training in South Africa: a comparative analysis of the quantitative evidence. In South Africa Journal of Education, 27(2), pp. 209-222.
  • Department of Higher Education and Training (2012). The establishment of a South African institute for vocational and continuing education and training (SAIVCET). Pretoria: Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (2013). National Report 2012 – Summary Report. Pretoria: National Education Evaluation and Development Unit.
  • Republic of South Africa (1999). Skills Development Levies Act 9. Pretoria: Government Gazette.
  • Republic of South Africa (2008). National Qualifications Framework Act 67. Pretoria: Government Gazette.
Abbreviations

  • CHE - Council on Higher Education
  • DHET - Department of Higher Education and Training
  • DoE - Department of Education
  • ETQA - Education and Training Quality Assurance
  • FET - Further Education Training
  • GET - General Education and Training
  • HEQC - Higher Education Quality Committee
  • HET - Higher Education and Training
  • ICASS - Internal continuous Assessment
  • INDLELA - Institute for the National development of Learnerships, Employment Skills and Labour Assessments
  • IPAP - Industrial Policy Action Plans
  • ISAT - Integrated Summative Assessment Task
  • MTEF - Medium Term Expenditure Framework
  • MTSF - Medium Term Strategic Framework
  • N/NATED Programmes - Vocational and Technical System certificate
  • NCV - National Certificate (Vocational)
  • NGO - Nongovernmental organisation
  • NIPF - National Industrial Policy Framework
  • NQF - National Qualifications Framework
  • NSC - National Senior Certificate
  • NSDS II/III - National Skills Development Strategy
  • PDEs - Provincial Departments of Education
  • PIVOTAL - Professional, Vocational, Technical and Academic Learning
  • QCTO - Quality Council for Trades and Occupations
  • SACE - South African Council for Educators
  • SAQA - South African Qualification Authority
  • SDA - Skills Development Act
  • SETAs - Sector Education and Training Authorities
  • UMALUSI - Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training




Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2014-01-17
Validated by: Ms Binaben Akoobhai;
JET Education Services (JET);
South Africa



page date 2017-02-22

Back to top