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FET college lecturers: The 'devolving' link in the South African skills development equation

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Corporate author/s:

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA); Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); and University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

Person/s author/s:

Akoojee, Mahomed Salim Ahmed


journal article



National attention on the role of skills development has focused on the role of Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in providing intermediate-level education and training necessary to meet the South African national development challenge. In particular, attention has been focused on reorganisation and rationalisation of college structures: through infrastructural development using recapitalisation funds; by curriculum renewal; and by proposing to boost learner enrolment to more than a million learners by 2014. The changes presuppose that college lecturers, as key strategic players, are a well-motivated and an effective component of the college system ready to take on these challenges. This paper considers that this may not necessarily be the case. Some attention has been paid to them in passing in the South African literature on FET colleges, and a report on ‘staffing challenges’ commissioned by the national department provided important information as to their form and composition. Very little consideration has, however, been paid to the implications of the latest legislation on FET colleges. This paper examines the origins and impacts of these latest policy proposals on college lecturers. It examines the legislation in light of the international evidence and proposes that the latest devolution of employment responsibility to governing bodies, although in line with international trends, is less likely to be a positive development.

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