Newsletter 87 Your Country Needs You!


“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow” John Dewey

I have been very privileged to visit Independent Schools for the past 24 months. In the Western Cape there are more than 51 000 learners and more than 4 000 teachers in the Independent school sector with more than 1 400 institutions. This is a very strategic sector in South Africa. All schools, Public and Independent, teachers all over make a contribution to educating our nation and prepare learners for post school studies and later the labour market.

In an article posted by Glen Tancott on May 30 2014 “South Africa needs engineers. Engineers are in short supply in South Africa according to government’s national scarce skills list. The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, MP, has gazetted the National Scarce Skills List: Top 100 Occupations in Demand and called for comments from all interested parties. Electrical engineers are listed first on the list, followed by civil engineers and mechanical engineers.”

“The Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) has identified five priority skills areas for immediate attention:

  1. high-level, world-class engineering and planning skills for the network industries, namely transport, communications, water and energy
  2. city, urban and regional planning and engineering skills
  3. artisanal and technical skills, with priority attention to infrastructure development, housing and energy, and in other areas identified as being in strong demand in the labour market
  4. management and planning skills in education and health
  5. mathematics, science and language competence in public schooling.”

“The New Growth Plan Strategy aims to target at least 30 000 additional engineers by 2014, changing subsidy formulae for universities as appropriate. It also hopes to improve skills in every job and target 1.2 million workers for certified on-the-job skills improvement programmes annually from 2013.”

The top 20 scare skills on the list are:

  1. Electrical Engineer
  2. Civil Engineer
  3. Mechanical Engineer
  4. Quantity Survey
  5. Programme or Project Manager
  6. Finance Manager
  7. Physical and Engineering Science Technicians
  8. Industrial and Production Engineers
  9. Electrician
  10. Chemical Engineer
  11. Construction Project Manager
  12. Mining Engineer
  13. Energy Engineer
  14. Accountant General
  15. Materials Engineer
  16. Electronics Engineer
  17. Metallurgical Engineer
  18. Medical Superintendent / Public Health Manager
  19. Telecommunications Engineers
  20. Energy Engineering Technologist.

Given the conclusion of the above research statistics and the desperate need in the country, I am of the opinion that we need to ask more and better of the Independent School sector. The greatest danger in this unique sector is complacency. In this world of forever change none of us can afford to rest on our laurels in the belief that we have arrived. South Africa must demand more and better outcome of this vital sector. The sector needs to understand and appreciate its dynamic contribution to our economy. Yes, independent schools have a huge patriotic duty and a large contribution to make…so let us ask for more! 

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