In January 2012, the Green Paper on Post-School Education and Training was released for public comment. It received a great deal of attention from stakeholders in the post-school system. This White Paper seeks to set out a vision for the type of post-school education and training system we aim to achieve by 2030. It has been developed after consideration of the nearly 200 responses to the Green Paper received from educational institutions, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), employer groupings, trade unions, other organisations and individuals, as well as further reflection within the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) on the challenges facing the sector. The post-school system is understood as comprising all education and training provision for those who have completed school, those who did not complete their schooling, and those who never attended school. It consists of the following institutions, which fall under the purview of the DHET:
- 23 public universities (with two more being established in 2014);
- 50 public technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges (formerly known as further education and training [FET] colleges);
- public adult learning centres (soon to be absorbed into the new community colleges);
- private post-school institutions (registered private FET colleges and private higher education institutions, also to be renamed TVET colleges);
- the SETAs and the National Skills Fund (NSF);
- regulatory bodies responsible for qualifications and quality assurance in the post-school system – the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the Quality Councils.
In addition, a number of state-owned post-school institutions exist under the authority of several other national government departments, mainly (but not exclusively) training public service workers. Furthermore, some institutions are operated by provincial governments and municipalities to train their own personnel. The DHET – through the Quality Councils – is responsible for assuring the quality of provision in these colleges and for ensuring that the qualifications that they offer are registered.
The White Paper sets out strategies to improve the capacity of the post-school education and training system to meet South Africa’s needs. It outlines policy directions to guide the DHET and the institutions for which it is responsible in order to contribute to building a developmental state with a vibrant democracy and a flourishing economy. Its main policy objectives are:
- a post-school system that can assist in building a fair, equitable, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa;
- a single, coordinated post-school education and training system;
- expanded access, improved quality and increased diversity of provision;
- a stronger and more cooperative relationship between education and training institutions and the workplace;
- a post-school education and training system that is responsive to the needs of individual citizens, employers in both public and private sectors, as well as broader societal and developmental objectives.