Pretoria: 06 August 2019
South Africa, geographically located at the southern tip of the African continent bordering on three vast oceans to the east, south and west; is on course to become one of the world’s maritime centres of excellence by 2030, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).
Key drivers towards this goal, according to the agency’s acting CEO, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, include an entrenched and sustained good governance of the oceans, development and growth of the maritime economic sector, the latter which in turn requires extensive education and skills development.
Mr Tilayi said this while addressing about two thousand high school pupils during a one day Maritime Education Expo held at the King Sabata Dalindyebo Technical and Vocational Education and Training (KSD TVET) College in Coffee bay last Thursday.
The event, jointly organised by SAMSA’s Corporate Social Investment unit, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the KSD College was held to mark the launch of the celebration of the TVET Month (August) – an annual event now in its sixth year aimed at raising greater public awareness technical and vocational education and training as a viable, if important, alternative to academic university education.
Maritime education and skills development has yet to fully impact the country’s 50 TVET college network, however, and SAMSA took the opportunity to also raise awareness among high schools pupils about South Africa’s maritime status, the country’s maritime and marine sector generally and the opportunities that lie therein for both business investment, education and training, and economic development in general.
The event – the second of its kind in two weeks in the Eastern Cape – attended by also by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, Mr Buti Manamela; had also found fit with SAMSAs rural maritime programme.
The programme is focused currently on rural coastal areas which, although with total access to the 3 200 kilometers coastline of the country’s three oceans, and attaching to which is a 2.5-million squares kilometers of an exclusive economic zone at sea, lack the wherewithal to make use of it for economic and social benefit.
The SAMSA rural programme pursued in strategic partnerships with issue relevant stakeholders both in government and the private sector, involves awareness promotion, industry and basic skills development and jobs creation particularly in the marine tourism sub-sectors.
Mr Tilayi said South Africa’s Vision 2030 envisaged the country becoming one of the world’s maritime centres of excellence based both on its strategic geographical location as well as its vast knowledge and expertise on maritime issues. However, he said, good governance was a key tool towards the goal, as would be mass education and skills development.
Towards this goal, and as a means to incentive young school pupils, he offered the eight schools that released its pupils to attend the expo on Thursday, one bursary each, which would be fully funded by SAMSA
For his full remarks, click on the video below.
Meanwhile, in the main address of the event, Mr Manamela emphasised the importance the country now attaches to technical and vocational education and training as both a viable and crucial alternative route to the development of young people with skills they use almost immediately to gain meaningful employment.
According to DHET, he said, one of the success stories of the department of the training section of the department’s portfolio was the expansion of the number of TVET colleges and the restoration of their reputation as institutions of education and training excellence.
Mr Manamela said for SA young people keen on education and skills development, distinct advantages of TVET colleges included they did require Grade 12 for admission, tuition was offered for free and skills acquired could be immediately applied either through industry employment or entrepreneurship.
For his full remarks, click on the video below:
The day was split into two parts – one third to the formal speeches and two-thirds to the expo, together lasting about five hours.