CEO’S SPEECH AT THE GRADUATION CEREMONY FOR INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) LEVEL 3 LEARNERS HELD AT THE TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY –WITBANK CAMPUS ON 18 FEBRUARY 2012
The MEC for Education in Mpumalanga Me Regina Makgabo Mhaule
Her Excellency the Mayor of Emalahleni Councillor Salome Sithole
The Head of Department in the Department of Education Ms Mahlasedi Mhlabane
Director of Human Resource Development Mr Sipho Sukati
Our distinguished community leaders
Our lecturers and teachers
Families and friends gathered here
Our graduates who have gathered us here today
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to greet you all and tell you how greatful I am to be with you here today. My love for education, success and beauty has prompted me to honour this invitation. As I look at our graduates sitting there, I see nothing but a beautiful sight, education is beautiful and it is always fresh; like now I feel a breath of fresh air flowing in this hall!
Ladies and gentlemen, our beloved former President Utatu Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela once said that “education is the most powerful tool which you can use to change the world”.
Indeed it is true that you can do the impossible if you are educated because changing the world is not a small feat but can be done. Look around you and tell me that education had nothing to do with where we are sitting now and the person sitting next to you!
Programme Director, the reason for us being here is not only to rejoice with our 91 graduates but, to also applaud the vision of our government and the values it promotes in its endeavour to build a better educated and successful South African citizenry. Those that are not here we care about them and will give support.
The establishment of public entities such as the SETA’s is evidence that our government realises the importance of time and its available resources to ensure its citizens receive services relevant to their social needs. When the new government assumed office in 2007 it put education as one of its major programme of action and placed it highest in its priority list.
We see this commitment by way of interventions such as National Skills Development Strategy (NSDSIII) and other related programmes. Our establishment as the Education, Training and Development Practices SETA, was conduit to up-skilling both employed and unemployed citizens. We must assess and monitor their progress and ensure that they successfully complete their programmes and are certified and competent to compete in the workplace and find suitable employment.
Honourable MEC to say we assess and monitor learners’ progress and ensure they successfully complete their programmes is no empty talk. Unless we are faced with a circumstance beyond our comprehension we soldier on and encourage candidates to complete their programmes. A case in point though on a sad note, we learnt that one of our learners recently lost her husband and was unable to complete some of her units. We are saying it is not over for her yet.
This learner will still get her statement of results and the service provider has committed to supporting her. She will after her recovery from this tragic loss, be allowed an opportunity to complete her remaining unit standards. That, is our commitment to making our business a success, by not leaving anyone behind. We give everyone an equal opportunity. They must just give us their quest to learn!
Nelson Mandela once said, “We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe to do right”. As the ETDP SETA the time is always ripe for us to ensure that the fountain of life, education, is offered at all times to those who want it.
The Departments of Higher Education and Training as well as Basic Education are looking upon us to deliver our mandate. We must then join hands and together make sure everyone knows where to get the education they need, how and where they can get assistance and support. Our FET’s must assume the position of becoming the’ place to get education. We must all promote these institutions of learning as less to none.
Our operations as the ETDP SETA links to the services of the two education departments I already mentioned. We do not and cannot work in isolation of the Department of Higher Education and Training and Department of Basic Education. We are a supportive partner and will ensure our value add programmes are synchronised and skills development in the country is kept on track.
The action plan of the Department of Basic Education has two goals to address teacher development, The first one is Goal 14, which is to attract in each year a new group of young, motivated and appropriately trained teachers into the teaching profession and Goal 16, is to improve the professionalism, teaching skills, subject knowledge and computer literacy of teachers throughout their entire careers.
The ETDP SETA approaches teacher development through a two pronged approach; by making sure that the country’s target for supply of teachers is reached by 2014 by supporting teachers to enter into the profession through provision of access to higher education institutions and; by providing opportunities for teachers who are already in the profession to develop further through learning programmes that will improve their teaching skills, subject knowledge and computer literacy.
ETDP SETA entered into a partnership with Mpumalanga Department of Education to train 100 Maths, Science & Technology teachers in the ICT [National Certificate: Information Technology: End User Computing L3], SAQA ID: 40977 for the 2010/11 financial year. The aim was to also support the laptop initiative of the Mpumalanga Department of Education.
Nutting House Training Academy, which later changed its name to Wetlands Private FET College,was contracted by the ETDP SETA to conduct the training.
While we organized and funded training, the Mpumalanga Department of Education provided accommodation and catering for the teachers during training sessions. We would like to applaud the department for this noble action.
Programme Director, these training sessions were only conducted during school holidays and/or Saturdays. This meant that the teachers never enjoyed any school holidays for a whole year, which is a demonstration of their sacrifice and commitment to the programme
Most of the teachers were afforded an opportunity for the first time in their profession to use a computer as a tool to enhance their work patterns – they learnt to use the computer for their daily preparations, compile databases of learners, mark sheets & schedules.
Ladies and gentlemen, the stories shared by the learners during training sessions were a demonstration of how critical computer skills are in their profession and day to day work environment.
It is encouraging to learn that some of the teachers have now started their own network groups and opted to share their newly acquired skills and resources with their peers who do not have computers at their schools.
There is a dire need for more teachers if not all to have computer skills or be computer literate. The laptop initiative may not have reached all teachers for now but I hope the honourable MEC has been informed and will be in a position to address the matter.
Ladies and Gentlemen, our Mpumalanga ETDP SETA office had a meeting with all FETs in the province. In this meeting the FETs expressed their interest and willingness to extend their scope with ETDP SETA programmes and even for programmes that will support teachers with computer skills.
Our office has been mandated to facilitate this process and bring together other stakeholders to design a programme that will address computer literacy for teachers: They are Mpumalanga DoE, The MICT SETA and FET’s in the region.
MEC, our Mpumalanga office has started the discussions and will be facilitating this initiative. A meeting will formally take place soon. This is a demonstration of the ETDP SETA commitment towards Teacher Development in this province.
To all of you ladies and gentlemen gathered here today, last week our State President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address reiterated the call to parents to send their children to Further Education and Training Colleges.
Obviously this was not an empty call. We all know that the president has plans to industrialise our country, generate skills and create jobs. Any economy depends on the technical know-how of its people. Vocational training therefore is very important and is vital to the prosperity of our country, its social and economic growth. Never, never ever allow anyone to sway your thoughts and tell you that FET education is inferior…inferior to what?
Programme Director, agree with me to say the graduation ceremony of today is not inferior to any other we have attended before. If the qualifications the graduates are conferred with today were insignificant and had no bearing at all to their personal growth and success, we would not have left our homes to converge in this hall.
To our graduates, you are a noble people and I must applaud you! It is encouraging to hear that you have formed your own networks to help empower your peers with the knowledge you have acquired. Our country needs people like you who have a sense of purpose. Encourage others to also register for the different programmes our organization has to offer, they will be happy they took that step.
Walter Anderson an American painter, writer and naturalist once said; “I read myself out of poverty long before I worked myself out of poverty”. Let us read, be educated, work hard and shake the claws of poverty off our backs and empower fellow citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, the education pillar in South Africa is at the top of the nation’s priority list. This makes you the VVI mechanism to South Africa’s growth path. It is important that when you know you want to get involved in elementary training and education of our children, you must undergo proper training that will empower you to do the right thing at the right time. It is okay “ukusala neengane zabo makhelwane,” but you must be able to do more than that and also benefit.
We have a solution at the ETDP SETA. We offer programmes such as the Early Childhood Development from NQF Level 4 to position you to give children a good and solid foundation they need to enable them to progress well in their educational development on the one hand, while you generate income by running a professional early learning centre instead of “i-creche yo kusala nje nengane”.
Some of you know someone who has worked at an early learning centre for a number of years and obviously there were lessons learnt. Tell them to speak to the people at our offices so they can know how they can be assisted.
We at the ETDP SETA have learnerships, internships and certificate programmes in the education sector that we want people to take advantage of and make use of the opportunities open to them. Our commitment and determination to skills development is unwavering. We made sure that people especially in rural areas have access to our services. We have opened offices in all the provinces and invite everyone with an interest in ETDP SETA services to visit us. We are ready to serve you. The ETDP SETA congratulates all the graduates.
I thank you.