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Africa Day celebration focuses on preparing TVET students for the future

At an event marking Africa Day, the Department of Science and Innovation highlighted its initiatives to empower technical and vocational education and training TVET students to embrace new technology and prepare them for the future.

TVET colleges play an important role in the science, technology and innovation landscape and the South African economy.

Addressing attendees at Tshwane South TVET College on 24 May 2023, Acting Director-General of Science and Innovation, Mr Daan du Toit, emphasised the significance of the sector in South Africa.

“TVET colleges play a critical role in society by offering hands-on training in various technical and vocational fields, including science-related studies. These institutions equip South Africans with the skills needed to revitalise traditional industries and seize new opportunities in digital technology and the green economy,” he said.

Du Toit said innovation was a collective enterprise and needed people to work together for society to thrive. He called on the students to make a difference by staying determined and disciplined, and to keep on dreaming of a better world.

The African Union declared 2024 the year of education, under the theme, “Educate an African fit for the 21st century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa.”

Embracing this theme, the Department partnered with Tshwane South and North TVET Colleges to commemorate this year’s Africa Day, with representatives of several commissions from African countries attending.

Students were given the opportunity to visit some of the research facilities at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research throughout the week, gaining firsthand experience and insight into scientific advancements and their applications.

The main celebration on Friday, 24 May, focused on the pivotal role of TVET colleges in nurturing the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. The event explored strategies for building the innovative, agile and adaptive society needed for Africa’s development.

Deputy Principal Registrar at the Tshwane South TVET College, Mr Pontsho Mosoeu, called for the education sector to interrogate the TVET college curricula at to ensure alignment with the digital age, and entrepreneurship. He emphasised the need to develop key partnerships for the TVET sector to thrive in the current environment.

Prof. Ntebogeng Mokgalaka-Fleischmann, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science at Tshwane University of Technology, also highlighted the importance of this initiative.

“By focusing on education and skills development, particularly in science and technology, we are not only preparing our students for the jobs of the future, but also empowering them to become innovators and leaders who will drive Africa’s growth and development,” he said.

Ms Egna Sousa, First Secretary at the Embassy of Angola in South Africa, shared inspiring words on behalf of the Angolan Ambassador: “Let us capitalise on the most valuable resource we have at our disposal, the young people. Let us use the transformative power of academia as an instrument to raise the living standards of our people and create an inclusive and prosperous environment.”

“Africa should not be perceived as a hindrance, but rather as a challenge, particularly in the realm of education and all forms of human expression. Because the Africa we want is not just a place, it is hearts and human minds,” said De Sousa.

Several organisations were at the event to exhibit work that highlighted the diverse opportunities available in the science and innovation sectors. It was also an opportunity for the students to display their work. Some students showcased impressive art and fashion designs , while other spoke of how the TVET sector is benefiting their careers in electrical engineering, mathematics, science and innovation, proving the value of TVET colleges in society.

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