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2016-01-06

Skills training a state of flux - Gayle Adlam

What does the future of skills development hold for the business sector and the Sector Education Training Authorities (Setas)?
The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has called for comment on a proposed new National Skills Development Strategy IV that will take effect on 1 March 2018. The current National Skills Development Strategy III, which was set to end its five year life-span in 2016, has now been extended to March 2018.
The value and role of many of the Setas has long been questioned by both the public and the private sector. The new strategy proposes that the Setas be reconstituted over the next two years to become
departments of the national Department of Higher Education and Training and renamed as Sector Education and Training Advisory Boards (SETABs). The SETABs would become permanent structures, rather than have five-year renewable life-spans. They would remain 21 in number (but clustered into
five groupings). The Seta Boards would remain unchanged but have greater representation from
government departments in line with a stronger public sector focus. The changes to funding proposed
include:
A total of 80% of the current Seta Discretionary Grant would be shifted to the National Skills Fund (equivalent to the entire current PIVOTAL Grant);
Employers would still be able to apply for the 20% Mandatory Grant (unchanged) and 10% of the remaining Discretionary Grant (renamed Sector Specific Grant);
Seta administration costs would remain at 10% of the Skills Development Levy, but likely reduced over time as a shared services unit realises bulk savings, and as other bodies take up previous Seta functions, such as Skills Planning; and
Public sector organisations would spend 1% of their personnel budget on quality assured education and training leading to NQF qualifications and fulfill the same reporting obligations as the private sector so as to qualify for funding from the National Skills
Fund.
The main goal of the changes is to shift funding to the post school sector as well as to focus on the
development of occupational learning. The impact of this proposal on private training providers and colleges is also of concern.

Gayle - 17:56:10 @ | 5 comments