The creep of maritime sector education in South Africa may be decidedly slow, almost imperceptible yet it is an absolute certainty, and it is about to come full circle with the envisaged formal roping into the milieu of the country’s technical vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in a year’s time.
With TVETs on board, maritime sector-focused public sector education will have reached virtually all relevant levels of formal education structures in the country, from foundational (currently high schools) through to vocational and tertiary levels.
The ‘10th Province’ has it in good authority that TVETs will be drawn into the fray in earnest from January 2017, with the launch of a pilot project involving two TVET institutions in as many provinces; one in KwaZulu-Natal and one other in the heart of Cape Town, Western Cape.
This follows the completion and approval of appropriate curriculum for a National Occupation Certificate in certain levels of discipline in seamanship that include, “Able Seafarer Engine”, “Able Seafarer Deck”, “Able Seafarer Fishing” “Marine Motorman Grade 2” and “Fishing Deck Officer”
Deepening South Africa’s efforts towards rejuvenation of its maritime economic sector precisely through expanded education, training and skills development requires as much planning as it does focused engagement with partners, local and international.
It was with appreciation of that reality when early evening on Monday, a delegationof the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) joined a Philippines business delegation at the Pretoria home of the Philippines’ Ambassador to South Africa for a casual yet exploratory chat about possible links that could benefit both countries in the field of maritime.
Also in attendance were representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and appropriately, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco).
Led by its president, Teresa B. Chan, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce delegation had been in the country since November 18, meeting its business chamber counterparts in Cape Town and Johannesburg, before a brief tour of the region ending in Pretoria.
SAMSA’s interest in meeting the business group hinged on its knowledge and involvement in maritime economy development issues, specifically opportunities for cooperation in education, training and skills development and about which the Philippines is acknowledged globally.
Three South Africa youths made history in South Africa’s maritime economy sector here at the weekend when they boarded the country’s first registered cargo ship since the dawn of democracy.
Similarly, the city of Nelson Mandela Bay also marked its name in the country’s maritime sector’s history books when it was confirmed as the home of the country’s first registered vessel since 1985. The city is already home to the country’s first higher education and research institute, the SA International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
The youths, two from the Eastern Cape – Samkelo Ndongeni (25) a deck cadet from Ngqushwa near King Williams Town, and Thembani Mazingi (24) an engine cadet from Cofimvaba, and the third from Nelspruit, Mpumalanga; Gordon Sekatang (26), also an engine cadet – were taken on board the newly registered vessel at Saldanha Bay Friday for a hands-on ship management practical training scheduled to last six months.
The trio’s first travel aboard the Cape Orchid – a 32 day one way journey went underway at the weekend to China where the 279m long cargo vessel will off-load some 170,000 tonnes of iron ore – the vessel’s first trade cargo from South Africa since its registration under the country’s flag.