NECT mobilises youth to fix education

There is a new revolution in South Africa: fixing education. The NECT is actively involving today’s youth in this revolution.

The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) entered into a partnership with the ETDP SETA in September 2014 for the implementation of a Skills Development Project for South African youth. The partnership is aimed at strengthening the National Skills Development Strategy III (NSDS III) launched in 2010 by the Department of Higher Education and Training. The partnership seeks to train young people in various workplace skills and at the same time strengthens the NECT’s ability to deliver education reform on the ground. The ETDP SETA, being responsible for the Education, Training and Development Practises (ETDP) sector of South Africa’s economy, sees the NECT as a strategic partner for the implementation of the NSDS.

The NECT has since identified over 1300 young people that are currently placed in different public education institutions in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces. The young people are put under a paid internship programme which offers skills in different fields including administration, learner welfare and educational support, under the guidance and mentorship of education experts.

The NECT’s Skills Development Programme – which has one of the highest retention rates in the country – aims to be an impetus for skills transfer and development, as well as work readiness development. The interns are equipped with the necessary skills that will develop them into economically active citizens. 

NECT has also involved youth in the schools renovation project which entails repairing buildings, fixing classroom walls, ceiling and floors and reconnecting electricity networks. Through this project 5 schools were renovated in Vhembe district in 2014 and a further 32 targeted across the 8 NECT districts. After completing the renovations the young people – who are mostly from TVET Colleges doing construction studies and employed under a paid internship from the Narysec Skills Programme of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform – gained experience in construction, general maintenance and entrepreneurship.

In a bid to capacitate public schools with adequate human resources for delivery of quality education, the NECT has placed these interns in schools across the country.

“Most of the interns are from higher education institutions such as FETs, Universities of Technology and traditional Universities, while others only have National Senior Certificate (NSC) or matric. They are then placed in public schools in different districts to offer support in administration and student welfare as well as teaching”, says Khaya Tyatya, Junior Education Specialist at the NECT.

“The NSDS links theory to practice. It takes students from higher education institutions (knowledge) to work environment practice (work/application), it gives them the experience needed to function in the work environment, and to do it professionally”, Tyatya continues.

According to Tyatya, this is an opportunity for young people to gain work experience, while receiving a stipend, as most of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The project ultimately helps to alleviate youth unemployment by turning academically qualified individuals into battle hardened but enthusiastic and skilful employees. Business support for the NECT and the continued support of the SETA for this programme will turn tens of thousands of these young people into productive citizens in a sector that sorely needs their skills.

The business community is encouraged to contact the NECT to become involved. Many listed businesses are already committed to NECT, having realised that support for educational reform in a programme that has the active support of the Government and civil society is the most effective way to channel their sustainability funds and to ensure the county’s prospects improve.

The ETDP SETA is also availing more opportunities for young people to join the programme, and young people are asked to approach their local SETA offices to enquire and enrol.

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