South Africa and the Netherlands sustain cooperation in vocational education

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South Africa and the Netherlands have worked together intensively on improving technical and vocational education and training sector (TVET) since 2006.

A responsive TVET is essential to offer youth job opportunities and foster economic growth. The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has decided to take the next step in the cooperation by further investing in a system that currently supports more than 8,000 lecturers at public TVET colleges in South Africa.

Building on results

Over the past decade, Nuffic’s capacity building programmes (NPT and NICHE) have supported DHET in strengthening the TVET sector in South Africa. The main project outcomes have been the establishment of a business management system for TVET colleges, a national TVET monitoring system and a lecturer support system. The direct beneficiaries of this supports include 21 South African TVET colleges, 350,000 students, and more than 8,000 lecturers, covering more than 50% of the sector.

In the coming year DHET is continuing investments in the developed systems. The new phase, building on the success of previous projects, will be implemented by CINOP Global, a Dutch research and consultancy agency specialised in TVET, lifelong learning, and HR development.

Firoz Patel, Deputy Director General for TVET, said: “The projects have delivered systems of strategic importance. Systems and standards have been developed for College Business Management Systems and reliable data based TVET sector monitoring. The Nuffic projects have delivered on their mandates and have been implemented in a flexible way to support our policies and priorities. DHET will fund the collaboration with CINOP to further develop and strengthen the efforts made by the projects and it is our hope to continue this collaboration in future.”


For Dutch Ambassador Marisa Gerards the cooperation in TVET is a good example of the strong bilateral relations: “We believe in the power of partnerships where we co-create the future together. In the TVET sector we have seen proof of this, through close cooperation between DHET, local ICT providers, Nuffic, CINOP and the Embassy. Another success factor has been the integral implementation of NICHE projects in DHET’s overall strategy- contributing to the improvement of TVET colleges, the success of TVET graduates on the job market, and ultimately also benefiting South African and Dutch businesses”.

Orange Knowledge Programme

South Africa and the Netherlands are looking further ahead. Nuffic has recently announced the Orange Knowledge Programme, the successor of NICHE, and is currently exploring possibilities with South African and Dutch stakeholders to intensify cooperation in TVET and higher education.

Mervin Bakker, Regional Director at Nuffic Neso South Africa said in a reaction: “The fact that DHET is now partnering with CINOP will safeguard the long-term sustainability of the lecturer support system, and we see that as a major success of our joint efforts. In the Orange Knowledge Programme, we are looking for similar forms of cooperation, in which partners from South Africa and the Netherlands are jointly investing to achieve sustainable results”.

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