Priority Countries

South Africa  Forward Plan  Links

Since the democratic transition in South Africa, a process of review and renewal has been implemented. This is intended to eradicate inequality and to normalise and transform teaching and learning. A major initiative is the change from a traditional content-driven approach to one that is outcomes-based and supports the philosophy of lifelong learning.

The new Government's first White Paper on Education and Training was published in 1995. Sub-titled "The First Steps to Develop a New System", it outlined the values and principles for education and training in the new South Africa, providing a consensus which positioned education within the reconstruction and development process.

Although the transition to address the inadequacies of the past has begun the market for education and training is still somewhat unpredictable and subject to change. At present a number of reviews, task force teams, advisory bodies and consultants are involved in initiatives to restructure education and training in South Africa. This makes it difficult to define opportunities with clarity.

Stated Government policy is inevitably going to result in a shift in emphasis from higher to primary and secondary education, and from academic to more technical training. This will change the character of the market. The national Education Ministry has used a Commission to look at the changed role and future of higher education which has resulted in the publication of a White Paper and the 1997 Higher Education Act. Another Commission has been established to do the same in the further education sector. DfID has given support for such developments.

Further education is seen as important in addressing the current inadequacies of secondary level schooling. Overall, there is unlikely to be a significant increase in Government expenditure on education but private sector activity on training and staff development will inevitably expand. This is necessary to cope with the competitive challenges created by South Africa's reintegration into the global economy.

The Ministry of Labour is a main stakeholder in restructuring training provision and this will lead to opportunity in a range of areas related to training provision, especially within key industrial sectors for future South African competitiveness.

South Africa is served by a well developed higher education infrastructure which is rapidly coming to terms with its re-emergence into the global academic community, the need to meet new demands on its capacity in terms of changed curriculum requirements, different balances in student ethnic mix, the science/arts split and meeting the demand for higher education within a constrained budget situation. International support, particularly providing specialist capacity that will be in short supply in the medium term and assisting with staff development for academic staff coming from previously historically disadvantaged groups, is likely to be welcomed through genuine partnership agreements.

Working with South Africa requires research and the development of linkages and partnerships with South African organisations. It is important to have a full understanding of the challenges facing South Africa and how your products can add value to the transition process. This commitment is often best demonstrated through a partnership approach.

Scottish Education + Training Activity in South Africa

To date Scottish Education + Training have undertaken the following activity in South Africa:

  • Scottish Education + Training Education and Culture mission to Johannesburg and Durban, August 1998
  • Briefing session and regular contact with Cheryl Carolus, High Commissioner for South Africa
  • Scottish Education + Training representation on the British Council stand at Jobscene, Johannesburg, February 1999
  • Participation in working group for UK/South Africa Vocational Education and Training (VET) programme
  • Launch of UK/South Africa VET Programme in Scotland, November 1999
  • Participation in Technikon Expo at South Africa House, Sept 1999
  • Cross-sectoral working group established
  • Production of video and brochure explaining the Scottish education system.
  • To order copies of the video or brochures visit our Marketing Materials.

    For further information about SE+T's work in South Africa or to discusss opportunities for Scottish education providers in South Africa email sheila.lumsden@britishcouncil.org

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