The Skills Development Amendment Act of 2008 provides for the QCTO and changes the term ‘training provider’ to ‘skills development provider’. The QCTO, managed by Adrienne Bird, introduces an occupational qualifications sub framework on the national qualifications framework, NQF, as well as an occupational learning system.
Current registered qualifications will remain valid for their intended periods and will then be replaced by new qualifications that conform to the new structure and curriculum requirements. The phase-in period and the new era was welcomed by skills development consultant Fiona Cameron-Brown.
The authorities will call for comment on policy proposals and regulations to support the implementation of the Act, via SkillZHub.
Minster Blade Nzimande’s new Department of Higher Education, DHE, became operational in November 2009, headed by Mary Metcalfe, former MEC for Education in Gauteng and former Dean of Education at Wits.Consolidation of skills functions transferred from the Department of Labour is well underway, and transfer of staff took effect in April 2010. SETAs are subject to some changes.
DHE is integrating post school skills, including academic, occupational, vocational and workplace skills, to ensure a coherent approach to skills development.
Skills money in new handsLegal power for skills development administration was transferred from the Department of Labour, to the Department of Higher Education and Training in November 2009. The move involves application of skills levies that have been accumulating for some years.
In terms of section 97 of the Constitution, the President transferred administration, powers and functions entrusted to the Minister of Labour under column 1 of the Schedule, to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. Extent of the transfer is detailed in column 2 of the Schedule. The effective date is 1 November 2009 (Government Gazette 32549 of 4 September 2009).
Some time ago the Minister of Labour applied unused funds earmarked for skills development and SETAs, to other purposes.
Funding is accumulating faster than the intended application, due to lack of administrative capacity. The cost to reclaim skills levies paid by employers is another stumbling block that tends to lock funds in.
DOL is thought to lack capacity in education and skills development. DOL and DOE should now co-operate to determine skills funding. However, the former DOE had a poor reputation in educational policies and skills development. Skills levies had become a tax instead of a dedicated trust fund.
PHOTO; Minster Blade Nzimande heads the new Department of Higher Education, DHE, operational since November 2009.