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Give kids on-the-job training‚ says Mamphela Ramphele

06 July 2018 - 06:30 By Nico Gous
Dr Mamphela Ramphele. File photo
Dr Mamphela Ramphele. File photo
Image: Business Times

We have to democratise the “sense of wonder” in South Africa.

So said Dr Mamphela Ramphele on Thursday night during a panel discussion on “Comprehensive Quality Education” hosted by National Convention of South Africa (ConveningSA) and live-streamed on Facebook.

“We need to be alive to the opportunities that we need to put in front of our children so that they know that the world out there is their oyster‚” she said.

Youth Lab managing director Tessa Dooms was worried that education was overemphasising innovation and ignoring the supply and demand of the labour market.

“If I‚ as businessman X‚ have been profiting off having a monopoly over the way in which furniture is made‚ why on earth would I encourage a society that’s going to create somebody that is going to make furniture redundant?”

Dooms added: “There are economic imperatives and interests in society that don’t want young people to be diverse‚ to be different‚ to break moulds‚ to change things around.”

Dooms said that most communities do not teach children skills that allow them to survive without education.

“Being in your society should be enough to teach you some basic things that should be able to keep you going. There are way too many communities in our country where seeing young people on street corners‚ just hanging around waiting for something to happen‚ because probably at their home they have parents who are also sitting at home waiting for something to happen. We need to find informal ways to get things happening.”

Dooms compared townships to Hillbrow‚ saying that the hustle and bustle of the inner city helped to get people moving.

“It’s busy‚ busy‚ busy and most of the people don’t even have an official reason to be busy.”

Dr Sihle Moon from the University of Pretoria (UP) believes the key to success was for TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) colleges to partner with the private sector in developing their curriculum and keep their machinery up to date.

“You are training them in preparation for the job market and it is the private sector that will employ them.”

Ramphele believes it is a tragedy of “missed opportunities” that there are backlogs in developing infrastructure while unemployment remains high.

“We need young people to get on-the-job training and part practical skills that will help make our country ready to be that inclusive‚ creative and prosperous democracy.”

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