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TVET Policy and its Implications for the HEIs and the School Curriculum. 14 August, 2013 Robert J. Balfour Dean of Education Sciences. Today’s discussion …. The Policy on TVET Schooling and VET WIL and WPL: classroom and work Implications for HEIs and questions about schools

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Tvet policy and its implications for the heis and the school curriculum

TVET PolicyanditsImplicationsfortheHEIsandtheSchool Curriculum

14 August, 2013

Robert J. Balfour

Dean of Education Sciences

Today s discussion
Today’s discussion …

  • The Policy on TVET

  • Schooling and VET

  • WIL and WPL: classroom and work

  • Implications for HEIs and questions about schools

  • Recommendations

Tvet points of departure
TVET: points of departure....

  • a) transformation of the sector is desirable in South Africa in terms of the need for differentiation: we need more choices for more people to create a more skilled and entrepreneurial workforce.

  • b) We need a transformed sector in which articulation between institutions and qualifications is possible for workers to be life-long learners and aims for life-long employment. At present universities don’t recognise Colleges in supporting them with qualifications.

More points of departure
More points of departure….

  • c) A large youthful population must be able to be sufficiently skilled as to become self-employed;

  • d) Our population needs to be sufficiently literate and sufficiently skilled so as to be able to change with new demands and circumstances;

  • e) Education needs to shift from providing knowledge to providing skills to learn about new knowledge as it develops. Are research-oriented institutions best suited to fulfill this role?

Tvet policy sum up
TVET Policy sum-up

  • The Policy recognizes the professional status of technical and vocational education, through the development of FET TVET specific qualifications (p.4)

  • Although the policy is not aimed at the training of teachers; one of the clear implications is that there ought to be scope for VET teachers to become lecturers in VET (through a post-grad diploma) in education.

  • In other words, a degree of coherence between part of the HE sector is anticipated (FET and University, and also School and FET).

Between school get and college
Between (School) GET and College

  • Even new school-focused qualifications (DTVT) risk being too academic or theory-oriented.

  • The teachers produced will need strong WIL and WPL experience. In this context the needs are both work-place exposure, as well as classroom based (workshop, lab and site based) exposure.

  • This will enable teachers to make the links between work and classroom for the learners and also lend credibility to the system.

  • TVET makes provision for strong industry-place experience.

Integrated and applied knowledge
Integrated and applied knowledge…

  • This is defined as knowledge about the subject (sck) and knowledge about teaching the subject (pck) (p.9);

  • The content knowledge and applications of such knowledge are meant to come together in workplace experience (field specific with cognitive subjects);

  • The Policy describes what is termed ‘disciplinary learning’ as containing both educational content (policy, philosophy, history of education contextualised in the FET sector) and specialised subject matter.

Integrated and applied knowledge cont
Integrated and applied knowledge cont.

  • Workplace learning is thus where technical skills are connected to the subject 'on the site'. Application, Application…..

  • In teacher training, the workplace is the school. One of the dangers inherent in the new policy is that training centres which provide workplace experience are in themselves abstracted from industry-based workplace:

    is it the same difference between accounting for schooling, and accounting for business practice in industry?

Tvet implications for universities
TVET Implications for universities…

  • Situational learning is defined as related to issues (gender, poverty etc) which change the nature of the subject, or the relevance or ‘locus’ of the subject.

  • Fundamental learning has to do with the mode and medium through the subject is communicated. Thus indigenous language communicative competence, ICT, life skills.

  • The knowledge mix is critical: 50% (180 credits) is considered to be ‘disciplinary’ and 50% education (pedagogy).

  • Up to 75 credits need to include a focus on ICT, an African language (for the Degree or 3 year Diploma).

How much generic is too much enough
How much generic is too much/ enough?

  • TVET qualifications presuppose a large degree of generic education modules (in other words, those modules taken from the school curriculum: maths, science, accounting etc) to complement the vocational choices made by students (travel and tourism, hospitality, masonry, plumbing etc) (p.12)

  • The education qualifications suggest articulation from one level to another:

    a) Dip Tech Voc and Teaching ;

    b) BEd TVT

    c) Adv Dip TVT

After the teaching comes training
After the ‘teaching’ comes ‘training’…

  • The post-professional qualifications emphasize Education and Training over “teaching’:

  • a critical issue to be acknowledged is that the emphasis on Training suggests that Faculties of Education will need to collaborate with faculties in which specialization areas may lie (engineering, sciences, economics). At NWU the BTD is already a programme in which such collaboration is evident. Offered by Education, the development modules are offered by the Faculty of Economics. (etc).

  • The Dip TVT aims to strengthen subject-content and the award is based on the application of this experience in the workplace and the FET College setting.

Wil work place industry learning
WIL & Work Place (Industry) Learning

  • As with Education qualifications (BEd and PGCE) 18-24 weeks of the Diploma must be spent in a “specialised workplace” (p18) Specialised workplace is defined as:

    • classroom-based practical work (ie workshops, kitchens, laboratories) AND

    • Workplace settings in industry (hotels, mines, businesses, etc)

  • This qualification will enable people who already have Level 4 or 5 certificates or diplomas. Level 6 enables access to the PGCE.


  • The Bachelor qualification is defined as one which qualifies a lecturer fully for the FET setting at Level 7. As with the Diploma, at least 50% (240 credits) should be aimed at developing the teaching specialization . 40% is allocated to general education (pedagogy, situational learning, assessment, moderation etc) (p20).

    • WIL is allocated between 32-40 weeks (p21) split between teaching and specialised workplace settings.

  • The new education qualifications make it evident that trade certificates/ diplomas are no longer sufficient for employment as an academic at a FET college.

Changes for the better
Changes for the better?

  • The policy implies that access from teacher level through to FET College will require that teachers complete a Diploma or Advanced Diploma.

  • Employer commitment to Workplace Learning or WIL remains an issue to be worked out in public-private sector partnerships as regards TVET.

  • Apprenticeship as a concept is problematic in SA (Wedekind, 2013) because of its associations with exploitation (slavery, indentured labour, free-labour). Indenture provided a transition from slave to freeman (2013 p3).

Vocational technical schools
Vocational/ Technical Schools

  • TVET provides a challenge to South African universities in that it demands stronger and structured collaboration between faculties of education (traditionally concerned with teacher education with the classroom in mind) and sister faculties in order to qualify academics at a higher level in relation to the FET Colleges. This is positive.

  • The professionalization of TVT / TVET as a concern of higher education (universities) is part of government’s focus on the integration of the sector, and part of the national skills development plan to ensure that universities provide qualifications relevant to the needs of the economy. A successful FET sector is critical to the needs of the economy.

Wil wpl apprentice learnership
WIL & WPL (apprentice/ learnership?)

  • The economic decline of the 1970s in South Africa led to a skills crisis in the early 21st Century (Wedekind, 2013).

    a) This crisis was political (black people had no access).

    b) It was also economic (sanctions, 0% growth in 1977).

    c) The crisis was deepened by the policy changes in relation to parastatals: (Transnet, Iscor, Armscor).

    • 1985 13500 (in apprenticeships)

    • 1990 7000

    • 1996 3000

    • 2011 13168 (source, Wedekind, 2013)

  • The Private FET Sector (1 263 594 learners) in SA far outstrips public FET education provision (328 898) learners.

  • Schools and the fet sector
    Schools and the FET Sector

    A change in the discourse (apprenticeship to learnership) and a change of policy are worthy beginnings, but school leavers do not access the FET colleges. As Wedekind notes (2013, 7) Grade 9 never led learners to FET colleges and 90% of SA learners are in the FET.

    The GET remains invisible as an alternative path. And, learnerships are hard to come by.

    It is also clear that old models (the NATED courses) are no longer appropriate to the changed context. A ministerial committee has undertaken to review the GET band and the articulation with the FET sector.

    Implications for the school
    Implications for the School…

    • Throughput in the FET Colleges is weak (61%) and upgrading qualifications is important.

    • And the NCV graduates are minimal and are then not recognised.

    • Career guidance to advise and guide students in the GET is very weak.

      • Science and Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Life Skills (psychology) are in short supply.

      • EMS is not a priority.

    • The schooling level (Grade 9 learner) is not prepared by the GET for the FET because these are usually weaker students in the system.

    • Additionally, the FET College offers a higher standard than the young learner can manage coming from the school.

    • The Senior and Intermediate Phases as taught on the BEd ought to prepare our students to manage the GET phase properly.

    Questions for hei s schooling
    Questions for HEI's & Schooling…

    • How can learners be encouraged and identified as potential FET lecturers? This question addresses the issue of the pathways created in the school curriculum in which the emphasis is on technical development for an 'artisnal future'.

    • Should FET Colleges be developed as the locus of the capacity for FET lecturer development (in partnership with universities in partnership with industry) since this is implied in the policy?

    • At present FET Colleges absorb many school 'drop outs'. There is an urgent need for systemic advocacy around the development of trade-based skills in SA.

    • Schools-based guidance and counseling ought to address selection and advocacy into the GET stream and FET College better.

    • FET lecturers are education professionals. HEI's needs to develop that scholarship around FET professional development. This is a long but critical process needing special support from the State.


    Arno Combrink, NWU (for critical comments)

    Volker Wedekind, UKZN (reference in text)

    Thank you