17 January 2013

South Africa: Nzimande Takes Lessons From Denmark

Pretoria — Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande is in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss key issues of vocational education and training.

Nzimande, who arrived in Copenhagen on Tuesday, is scheduled to meet his counterpart, Minister Christine Antorini, and senior officials of the Danish Ministry of Children and Education.

His visit will include presentations and tours of local Technical and Vocational Education Colleges.

"On this visit, we are specifically looking at the Danish government's technical and vocational education and training system, exploring further opportunities for technical cooperation as Denmark has been very supportive of South Africa in improving the quality of FET Colleges over the years.

"We will also pay particular focus on strengthening the relations and learning from the Danish government with the intention of benefiting the vocational and technical education of South Africa," Minister Nzimande said.

Historically, the main objective of Danish-South African co-operation in the field of basic education and vocational training has been to increase young people and adults' chances of success in the job market by offering them practical training that is more aligned with the requirements of the labour market.

The two main areas of focus for co-operation have been identified as further education and training, which is aimed at allowing graduates of colleges to acquire knowledge and skills which would qualify them for higher education in fields with promising employment potential, or those that directly lead to their employment.

Another focus area has been identified in increasing adult employability by giving unemployed adults improved opportunities for obtaining employable skills through education and training.

"This visit comes at an opportune time for the developments taking place within our post-school education and training system.

"It's also very crucial in revitalising our bilateral collaboration with Denmark in line with the expanded mandate of skills development that the department is now responsible for.

"We are further exploring the possibility of a bilateral legal framework to concretize further ministry-to-ministry cooperation in new areas which will include the FET sector," Minister Nzimande said.

The department is further planning to investigate opportunities for institutional and ministry-to-ministry cooperation around best practice through institutional linkages with South Africa's vocational education and training colleges.

"There must also be exchange programmes for academics and staff, aimed at capacity building for historically disadvantaged higher education institutions and FET colleges' management cohort," said the minister.

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