REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
AND TRAINING ON ITS STUDY TOUR TO THE FEDERAL
REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ON 02 – 09 DECEMBER 2011,
DATED 22 FEBRUARY 2012
Committee on Higher Education and Training, having undertaken an international
study tour to Germany
from 02 – 09 December 2011reports as follows:
Committee on Higher Education and Training undertook a study tour to the
Federal Republic of Germany from 02 – 09 December 2011. The main purpose of the
study tour was to obtain in-depth knowledge of the German post school education
system with special focus on vocational education and training (VET) and skills
development. The study tour was also a benchmarking exercise to ascertain the
level of South Africa’s post
school education system compared with that of Germany to ensure that best
practices may be incorporated into the country’s post
school education system.
interacted with various stakeholders including federal government ministries
responsible for vocational education and training and skills development.
During the study tour visit, the Committee had an opportunity to interact with
the following stakeholders / ministries, namely: the South African Embassy, the
Confederation of German Trade Union, Siemens, the German Parliament, Humbodlt University, Federal Ministry for Economic
Cooperation and Development, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the
Chamber of Skilled Crafts and Vocational Training, the Federal Institute for
Vocational Training and International Marketing for Vocational Education.
The Committee had
an opportunity to conduct site observations at the vocational training
institutions to observe the dual education system in practice. During the site
visits the Committee had an opportunity to interact with the students who were
enrolled in the dual education system.
South Africa had a serious
challenge of a high unemployment rate especially among young people between the
ages of 18 – 24. It was estimated that 2.8 million young people of this age
group were neither in school, training or partaking in any form of employment
and, 2 million of them had no school leaving qualification. One of the reasons
attributed to high unemployment among the youth was the lack of skills relevant
to the labour market. This posed a considerable
constraint on the country’s social and economic development.
exercising the overall oversight function over the Department of Higher
Education and Training and its entities, the Committee had a duty to
investigate and gather information and develop knowledge on international best
practices. The information gathered on best practices was then summarised into recommendations which were later
transferred to the Department of Higher Education and Training for
implementation and intervention where necessary.
Germany was the country of
choice for the Committee to visit owing to its successful dual education
system. Germany is Europe’s largest economy and the third biggest economy in
the world. The country is highly industrialized with specialization in
auto-mobiles, mechanical engineering and mechatronics. The essence of the quality exhibited by German
products can in many ways be attributed to the skill level of its industrial
workers. Their high skill levels are a direct result of the country’s
apprenticeship training programmes, more commonly
referred to as the dual educational system.
The dual education system
is a joint responsibility of the state and industry. Education and training is
conducted at the company’s learning venues and vocational school. At the time
of the study tour, there were 350 occupations registered and recognised by the state with 1.6 million trainees. Approximately 482 000 companies were
providing vocational training.
3. Composition of the Delegation
3.1 The Parliamentary delegation
delegation from the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training
comprised of Adv I Malale, Chairperson (ANC); Ms N
Gina (ANC); Mr S Makhubele (ANC); Mr C Moni (ANC); Ms W Nelson (ANC); Dr J Kloppers-Lourens
(DA) and Mr A van der Westhuizen
Support Staff: Mr A Kabingesi:
Committee Secretary and Ms M Modiba: Researcher.
3.2 Department of Higher Education and Training
Ms N Vukuza: Deputy Director-General / International Attache and Ms B Mtyingizana:
Director, International Affairs.
3.3 South African Embassy
Mr M Stofile: Ambassador; Mr S Gwexe:
First Secretary, Education; Mr G Mamabolo: First
Secretary, Economics and Ms M Manenzhe: First
Gewerkschaftsbund Bundesvortstand (DGB) / Confederation of German Trade Union
Mr H Nehls: Representative.
Mr M Stockmann: Head of Siemens, Professional Education; Ms K Steir: International Relations and Mr H Hohn:
Vice President, Siemens Government Affairs.
3.6 Bundestag / German Parliament
Ms U Burchardt: Chairperson, Committee on Education; Mr A Deyer: Committee Secretary and Ms D Schechler:
3.7 Humbodlt University
Dr U Hans: Head
International Office and Ms U Spanamberg:
International Students Advisor.
fur wirtschftliche Zusammenarbet und Entwicklung / Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and Development & Deutsche Gesellschaft
für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Dr K Prezyklenk: Senior Advisor; Ms J Hett:
Desk Officer, South Africa;
Mr T Alberts: Director, Commission for Africa and Mr M Ammosse: Intern.
3.9 Befufsfortbildungswerk (bfw)
Ms J Schultz:
Assistant Manager, Labour Markets Projects and
Services; Ms E Meyer: Project Manager and Ms S Becker.
3.10 Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) /
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Mr M Hetzger: Director of the Department; Ms C Stertz: Director of Sub-Department; Mr P Weber: Director
Vocational Training; Ms A Solymosi:
Programme Officer and Ms N Hertz: Senior Scientific Officer.
3.10.1 Handswerkskammer Klobenz / Chamber of Skilled Crafts
Mr P Rechmann: Project Coordinator for Asia, Africa and Moldova and Mr
R Muller: Engineer.
3.10.2 Bundesinstitut fur Berufsbildung (BiBB) / Federal
Institute for Vocational Training and International Marketing for Vocational
Prof F Esser: President; Ms M Sinthern:
Public Relations Officer; Mr H Tutschner: Head
Company and Individual Customer related Service Occupations; Ms M Verfuth: Advisory Service and International Cooperation; Mr
F Wahl: Project Coordinator and Ms M Maykens: iMove Officer.
4. Summary of presentations
4.1 South African Embassy
Mr M Stofile, Ambassador, led the presentation which highlighted
the following key issues:
- The main role of the Embassy was to maintain / develop
the partnership and agreements that existed between South Africa and Germany. Germany was the number one trade and
political partner of South
Africa within the European zone, and
there were many areas of interest shared between the two countries.
- The Embassy was also responsible for facilitating
logistical arrangements of South African delegations that planned to meet
with the German authorities for official purposes.
- The Embassy also advised any South African delegation that
to submit their report of the study tour, including agreements reached to
ensure that a follow up can be made.
- The Mpumalanga
delegation that visited Germany
in the past had not made a follow-up with an agreement that was under
service, which was a matter of concern for the Embassy, since Germany
was aiming to help other countries with this agreement.
- The Embassy warned the Committee about getting into
agreements with German institutions without honouring
or servicing those agreements.
- The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B Nzimande visited Germany in March 2010. The
Minister participated in the iMove roundtable
where he highlighted the challenges of skills development faced by the
Mr S Gwexe, First Secretary Education, proceeded with the
presentation and highlighted the following:
- The German dual education system had been very
progressive since the re-unification of the country 21 years ago. The
country was by far the leading industrialised
economy of Europe, specializing
specifically in auto-mobiles, mechatronics and
- Germany had 600
companies that were fully operational in South Africa making it one of
their biggest trading partners.
- The dual education system allowed students to choose
their career path in primary schooling from as early an age as 10 years.. By the time students reached the age of 18 years,
they would be absorbed by industries to participate in the apprenticeship
programme, which is a major step to further their career. Different
partners were involved in the dual system which included the state,
employers and unions.
- The Employers were responsible to fund the training programmes including providing employment for the
student upon completion of their apprenticeship.
4.2 Deustcher Gewerkschaftsbund Bundesvortstand
(DGB) / Confederation of German Trade Union presentation on Role of Social
Partners in Vocational Education and Training
Mr H Nehls led the presentation which highlighted the following
- The DGB was a combined federal union which represented
eight trade unions on various critical elements of labour
or society to the government. The DGB represented 6 million workers from
different sectors, with 2 million from industries, 1.2 from the public
sector, 800 000 from chemical industries and the balance from other small
sectors of the economy.
- The core mandate of the DGB was to critically engage on
issues of a minimum wage for all workers in various sectors, the economic
crisis of the eurozone, and ecological issues.
- The training of apprentices was conducted at the
workplace and in school. However, students spent most of their time doing
practical work in companies rather than in schools. There were currently
350 training occupations recognized by the state.
- The vocational education and training system had
approximately 1.6 million trainees, 39% were women, and the entire
education system had 2.3 million students. There were 2 million companies
of which 402 000 (25%) provided artisan training.
- The union’s main approach in assisting workers was to
encourage them to participate in training programmes
so that they could improve their qualifications and thus access the labour market. The high unemployment rate among young
people in the country was owing to the fact that they were unqualified.
- The Vocational Education and Training Act of 1969 was
the main legislation which regulated the vocational education system.
- The dual education system had three different
approaches, namely, employers paid for the training programmes,
trainees obtained a stipend average of 630 euros, and trainees were
absorbed by the employer upon completion of their programme.
- The normal duration of the training programme took
three years to complete. After that, trainees had the choice to either
work or enroll in higher education.
- The unions played a very critical role in the
development of vocational education and training. All the proposals for
new training programmes were developed in
consultation with employers and unions.
Mr M Stockmann, Head of Seimens,
Professional Education, led the presentation which highlighted the following
- Siemens was established 150 years ago in a garage by Mr
B von Seimens in Germany. The company had grown
to be represented in more than 150 countries worldwide with more than 400
000 employees. The turnover profit of the company in 2010 was 3.9 billion
- The vocational education and training institution in Berlin was the
largest training centre of Siemens. Seimens was
located in 40 regions within the German boundary. The company spent 167
million euros per annum on training programmes
with the majority of the programmes focusing on
the technical aspect of training.
- The dual education system was being implemented at
Siemens Professional Education institutions across Germany.
The advantage of this system was that employees were highly qualified,
highly productive and future oriented. There were approximately 1400
trainees located in the Berlin
- Siemens offered both practical and theoretical aspects
of learning under one training centre.
- Project and process oriented learning in exemplary
trade oriented tasks included; knowledge management and networking and
self dependant work-based comprehensive learning.
- The International Education and Development Programme
(IEDP) was a programme aimed at preparing potential managers of the
company. Employees from other countries were transferred on a three months
course in Germany
to focus on networking, knowledge transfer, teambuilding and intercultural
- The Siemens mechatronics
system certification programme was implemented on three levels. Level 1
included assistants, Level 2 included technicians and Level 3 included
highly trained professionals.
- The examinations of the training centre were evaluated
by an independent body responsible for setting norms and standards for
- Siemens had partnerships with South African
institutions on the development of students in technical disciplines. The
Nelson Mandela Secondary School Project for learners between Grades 7 and
12, and a partnership with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology
(CPUT) on mechatronics had been established.
4.4 Bundestag / German Parliament
Ms U Burchardt’ Chairperson, Committee on Education, led the
presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- The Education Committee in Germany faced similar
challenges with those of the South African education system. The Organisation for Economic Commonwealth Development
(OECD) report on education systems of various countries painted a negative
picture of the German education system. The findings of the report
confirmed that the German education system was weak and there was a high
drop-out rate in secondary education.
- The federal state offered free education until
secondary schooling and higher education was being susbsidised.
- The main challenge of the Committee was that 15% of
children exited the system with no qualification. The Committee was
discussing the possibility of extending primary schooling from four to six
years to address this challenge.
- The dual education system was working efficiently in
the country since more than 50% of children obtained a vocational
- The Committee was responsible for processing and
passing laws to regulate the vocational education system. Legislation
provided the framework for regulating trades and occupations.
Dr U Hans, Head of
the International Office, led the presentation which highlighted the following
- The university was founded in 1810 by Mr Wilhelm von
Humboldt and was Berlin’s
oldest university. His idea was to create a new kind of university that
guaranteed academic freedom and the freedom to research. He was an
explorer and scientist and inspired the creation of the Natural Sciences.
- The university commenced with 256 students and 52
professors in 1810. There were 29 Nobel Prize Winners who graduated from
the university, including famous scholars such as Albert Einstein, Karl
Marx and Hagel.
- Currently, there were 11 faculties in the university,
36 000 students, 5000 of them came from abroad, 400 professors and the
budget of the university was 2.3 million euros.
- The university
was committed to reform and stayed clear of political influence. The
university boasted the largest medical faculty in Europe and was one of Germany’s
top research universities.
- Germany had 250
universities and students were required to apply and meet certain admission
requirements before they can be accepted for any programme.
fur wirtschftliche Zusammenarbet und Entwicklung / Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and Development & Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
a) German Development Cooperation with Africa
Dr K Prezyklenk, Senior Advisor, led
the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- The importance of Africa for Germany
and the EU had increased, among other things, owing to the dynamic
geopolitical developments in Africa in
the past few years. Through the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted in Lisbon in 2007, Africa
and the EU launched a comprehensive political initiative geared towards
putting the two continents’ relations on a new partnership-based foundation,
moving beyond traditional cooperation.
- Germany was on track
to meet the commitment made by the G8 countries at Gleneagles in 2005 to
double aid to Africa by 2010.
- The bilateral commitments for Africa
had risen further. Whilst they totaled 420 million euros in 2004, they
reached 1.2 billion euros in 2009, thus almost trebling. The commitments
for 2010 were at a similarly high figure.
- The political goal of Germany
was that Africa increasingly become able
to solve its own problems in a sustainable manner to harness its great
- Germany was currently
using the integrated set of all its instruments for bilateral cooperation
with 25 partner countries in Africa. In
cooperation with partner countries, priority areas covered were good
governance, rural development, sustainable economic development, health
energy and education. Germany
was a major donor to government projects, with funding in this area
amounting to more than $200 million.
- Germany was the
largest bilateral donor in the water sector for Africa,
with commitments running to some 300 million euros.
- In future, Germany,
in its development cooperation with Africa,
will step up its support even further for partner countries in the areas
of education, health, climate protection and rural development.
b) South African – German Development Cooperation
Ms J Hett, Desk Officer South Africa, led the presentation which
highlighted the following key issues:
- The skills shortage presented an obstacle to greater
economic growth and the wider use of renewable energies. People with
limited training, or no training at all, have little chance of finding
employment in the formal sector.
- The future “Green Skills” programme was aimed to help
the skills shortage in the green economy. The new programme was made up of
two components. Component 1 (vocational education and training in green
skills) was aimed at introducing a green component to existing training
courses and supporting the development of training programmes
for new jobs for which there was a growing demand within the green
economy. Component 2 was concerned with green technology within industry
and the development of innovations. Some green technology measures were
already being implemented.
- A special focus was on adapting vocational training to
the needs of the labour market and on supporting
the Sectoral Education and Training Authorities
(SETAs) in matchmaking between business and
- Since 2001, 6.3 million employees received further
training and 400 00 people had been trained in long-term courses for
employment in the formal labour market. Of these, 79% found employment within
six months of completing the course. Since 2005, over 350 000 unemployed
people had taken part in short training courses. Of these, 66% went on to
- The new Green Skills programme would begin in early
2012. Under the energy programme, a pilot project for training energy
auditors had been conducted. So far, 35 trainees qualified as energy
auditors and most had succeeded in finding employment.
4.7 Befufsfortbildungswerk (bfw)
Ms E Meyer, Project
Manager, led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- The bfw was one of the first
institutions of continuing education in former West Germany. It was founded
in 1953 by the Deustcher Gewerkschafts
Bund (DGB) / Confederation of German Trade Unions.
- The key principles of bfw
included, but not limited to; commitment to the fundamental concept of
trade unions, protection of employees’ rights and support work councils in
determining employees’ educational needs.
- Bfw was one of
the largest suppliers of job qualifications and training courses in Germany.
It was a certified and accredited educational institution with approximately
2000 employees and 60 000 students.
- Bfw focused on
three areas of responsibility, namely, Vocational Training and Retraining
(in collaboration with businesses), preparation for vocational training of
adolescents and continuing professional training of adults, employed or
- In terms of vocational training, bfw
cooperated with business to conduct apprenticeships for adolescents who were
unable to find a company prepared to employ them.
- In terms of vocational retraining, bfw
trained adults with or without qualifications in a new profession. The
institution offered theoretical training while business and companies
offered practical, on-the-job training. The duration of the training was
between 20 – 24 months.
- The German federal and state governments offered grants
to occupational and vocational education and training centres.
These monies largely came from tax contributions paid by all employees
(50%) and employers (50%). These funds had to be applied for in a highly
competitive market. In order to obtain such a grant, innovative project
ideas for specific areas of individuals were required.
- The bfw was looking for
interested partners to work with them, or who intended to establish a
similar system of vocational training in their own countries.
4.8 Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Forschung / Federal
Ministry of Education and Research
a) The Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Mr P Weber:
Director Vocational Training led the presentation which highlighted the
following key issues:
- Bonn was the
German capital from 1949 to 1990. A number of Ministries still had their
headquarters in Bonn rather than Berlin and, the
BMBF was one of them. The BMBF was headed by Prof A Schavan,
Minister with four State Secretaries reporting to her. The BMBF had
approximately 1000 employees of which 750 were in Bonn
and 250 in Berlin.
- The Federal Republic of Germany was made up of 16
autonomous states (Lander), each with its own constitution and
responsibilities. Together, the 16 Lander made up the German Federal
- The Federal Government had competing legislation
authority for non-school-based vocational training, training grants,
support of scientific research and university admissions and degrees.
- The joint responsibilities shared between the Landers
and Bund included funding of science and research, educational reporting
and joint recommendations.
- The aims of the “Qualification
Initiative for Germany” included making education a top priority in
Germany, giving every child a top priority, ensuring that everyone can
acquire a school-leaving or vocational qualification and encouraging more
young people to pursue university studies.
- The Future
Investment Act included extensive investment of 8.7 euros in the
educational infrastructure. Current examples included early childhood
education and care infrastructure, universities, municipal or non-profit
continuing education institutions and research.
- In terms of future prospects, Germany
would invest 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in education and
research by 2015, admitting 275 000 additional first year students to
university by 2015, promoting top class university research and giving more
support to major science and research organizations.
b) German – South African Year of Science 2012 / 2013
Ms N Hurtz: International Bureau of the BMBF led the
presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- The International Science Years were part of the
Federal Government’s Strategy for the Internationalization of Science and
Research carried out together with a strategically important partner
country and, focused on research, education and innovation.
- The examples of German International Years of Science
in other developing countries included Egypt 2007, Israel 2008, China
2009, Brazil 2010 and Russia 2011.
- The goals of the German – South African Year of Science
included visualizing the existing variety of co-operations and their
excellence; initiating new partnerships between research institutions,
universities and companies and enhancing the institutional cooperation
between Ministries, intermediary and funding organizations.
- The target groups included decision-makers in politics,
research facilities, funding organizations, educational institutions and
providers, young scientists, disseminators and the general public with an
interest in science.
- The thematic areas were climate change, human capital
development, bio-economy, urbanisation,
astronomy, health innovation, social sciences and the humanities.
- The launch of the German – South African Year of
Science was planned for April 2012 and the closing event planned for April
2013. A joint research programme with the Department of Science and
Technology (DST) would be established.
c) Dual Training at a Glance
Ms C Stertz, Director of the Sub-Department, led the
presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- Dual training was mainly provided in the company
supported by teaching in part-time vocational schools (Berufsschule).
Learning in the company took three to four days per week on the basis of
training regulations, within the framework of a training contract, taking
place mainly at the workplace.
- The training regulations covered the following: state
recognition of the occupation, designation of the occupation, duration of
training, the overall training plan and examination requirements.
- The training contract covered the following in
particular: the training period, the training content, termination of
employment and the allowance paid to the trainee.
- Learning at school took between 1 - 2 days per week on
average on the basis of a framework curriculum. The curriculum of
part-time vocational schools included vocational subjects and general
subjects, teaching followed an activity based approach in fields of
- General education was a multi-track system with
different types of schools governed by Lander law. The Conference of Landers
Ministers decided on common approaches, inter alia
regarding recognition of types of schools, standards and final qualifications.
- The advantages of the dual system included job
specification qualification, productive performance of trainees, increased
motivation and loyalty to company and secured skills needed.
- The dual system was a successful model since the majorities
of young people (60%) chose it. There were about 1.6 million trainees in
approximately 340 training occupations.
- Facts and figures: The percentage of learners with no
school leaving certificate was 25%, higher education entrance qualifications
17%, intermediate school leaving certificate was 39%, and secondary
generation school leaving certificate was 30%.
- Financing of dual training was a joint initiative
between companies and Lander. Companies contributed 14.7 billion euros
(84%) and Lander 2.3 billion euros (16%).
4.9 Handswerkskammer Klobenz / Chamber of Skilled Crafts
Mr P Rechmann, Project Coordinator, led the presentation which highlighted
the following key issues:
- The Chamber of Skilled Crafts determined occupations
which were part of the crafts sector. This included 151 occupations,
divided into seven branches. These branches included building and interior
trades; electrical and metalworking trades; woodcrafts and plastic; health
and body care trade; chemical and cleaning sector; clothing, textiles and
leather crafts and trades, glass, paper, ceramics, food crafts and trades.
- The 54 Chambers of Skilled Crafts were self governing,
non-profit corporations under public law with compulsory membership for
each skilled craft enterprise. The Chambers represented the interests of
the crafts sector in their district vis-avis
political institutions, public administration and society. The Chambers
also kept the crafts register and were responsible for holding
- The Chambers were by law competent bodies with regards
to vocational training. They registered all apprenticeship contracts,
monitored all apprenticeships, organised examinations
from apprentice to master, and appointed members of the Vocational
Training Committee and Examination Boards.
- The results of the regulation of various crafts led
high quality training in all companies irrespective of size or location
and offered flexibility.
- The Master of Crafts examination was a master degree
required for establishing a company in many occupations. The participants
in this training were offered grants by the federal government. The minimum
training offered by the Chamber was two years and short-courses were not
- The main income of the Chamber was obtained from
training (financed by companies), membership fees and government grants.
4.10 Bundesinstitut fur Berufsbildung (BiBB) / Federal
Institute for Vocational Training and International Marketing for Vocational
Prof H Esser President of BiBB, welcomed the Delegation and gave the following
- The BiBB was a national and
international institution of research and development in the Vocational
Education and Training (VET) system that represented Germany
- The BiBB promoted the VET
system internationally especially in developing / emerging industrialised countries. The VET system was in demand
due to its dual system. The demand for advisory services in the VET system
had risen in developing countries in the past few years as they were using
this system to improve their productivity.
- The shortage of skilled workers was a huge challenge
for developing countries and the VET system offered points of departure
for modernisation of this system in partner
- Skills Development in South Africa should be aligned
to economic policies of the country to reduce unemployment, especially
among young people. The VET system was industry driven and, it was crucial
for South Africa
to compel industries to take students for vocational training.
b) The system of Continuing Education and Training and
Mr H Tutschner, Head of Company and Individual Customer Related
Service Occupations, led the presentation which highlighted the following key
- The BiBB worked with
different stakeholders and practitioners of the VET system. The business
objectives of the BiBB was providing support
personnel in VET, identifying future skills, developing new methods in
teaching and training, assessing the quality of distance learning and analysing structural development in the labour market.
- The organs of the Federal Institute for the VET Board
included eight members from Employer Organisations,
five from government, and eight from Unions and eight from the Lander
(Region / Provincial Government). The board determined the affairs of the BiBB. The BiBB was the
biggest institution responsible for the VET system.
- The Vocational Education and Training Act was
introduced in 1959 and reformed in 2005. The Act regulated all training
practices of the VET system.
- The VET system presented challenges when it came to its
implementation, especially in small developing countries.
- In 2010, 10% of learners had no vocational
qualification, 20% had a university degree, and 11% had a technical
qualification. These results indicated that Germany faced serious
challenges in its education system.
- Approximately 50% of school leavers opted for
vocational education rather than university since it provides more
opportunities for employment than any other form of training in Germany.
c) BiBB International
Ms M Verfurth: Advisory Services and International Cooperation
led the presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- The international advisory service of the BiBB provide advise regarding modernization of VET
financing, staff development, forms of training, VET research, information
and communication platforms.
- The instruments used to promote VET system; coaching,
professional consultation, workshop training, studies and monitoring and
- The BiBB had good cooperation
with RSA. The BiBB delegation visited the
country in 2010 where meetings were held with the DHET in Pretoria.
d) International Marketing of Vocational Education (iMove)
Ms M Maykens, iMove Officer, led the
presentation which highlighted the following key issues:
- iMove was a service
agency established by Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
founded in November 2001.
- The iMove offices were
located at BiBB and the agency had a team of 13
- iMove’s mission
included the promotion of German providers of VET, facilitating
international business activities and co-operation between German training
providers and partners abroad.
Committee on Higher Education and Training, having interacted with various
institutions during its study tour, made the following observations:
5.1 Meeting with the Embassy
5.1.1 The meeting
with the Embassy provided an opportunity for the Committee to be aware of the
latest developments in relation to higher education and training in Germany. The
meeting also provided some brief background on the different visits that had
been conducted by various delegations from South Africa.
5.1.2 The meeting
gave a synopsis of the Minister’s participation in the iMove
roundtable in 2010 where he interrogated the German education system, focusing
particularly on skills development.
5.1.3 It was agreed
that the Committee would make follow-ups on the pending follow-up by the
Mpumalanga Provincial Government on education agreements with the German
5.2 Meeting with DGB / Confederation of German Trade
5.2.1 It emerged that
the DGB did not articulate on the critical weaknesses of the German vocational
education and training system.
5.2.2 It was agreed
that the Committee should benchmark the Vocational Education and Training Act
with the Skills Development Act to look at best practices that may be of
assistance to enhance skills development in the country.
5.2.3 It was noted
that the DGB was fully involved in the development of vocational education programmes and this might serve as a model for trade unions
in the country to follow suit.
5.2.4 The Committee
commended the DGB’s approach in encouraging workers
to obtain qualifications for their own development.
5.2.5 The German
education system prioritsed artisan training more
than any other training programmes.
5.3 Meeting with Siemens
5.3.1 The Siemens
training centre in Berlin was similar to other
training centres that were available in South Africa.
However, the effective utilization of its facilities was the factor that made
Siemens successful in its programme offering.
management and coordination of the vocational training at the institution was
very effective and, students were in touch with what was happening in the
5.3.3 The trainers
at the institution were very well trained (organized lecturing system) and
committed to their tasks.
5.3.4 Good measures
for sustainability of the company were implemented effectively.
5.3.5 The main core
area of Siemens focused on skills development to improve productivity of the
company and the well being of students.
5.3.6 The company
invested resources in research and development often neglected by South African
5.3.7 Siemens was a
multinational company that contributed to skilling
people to participate in the global economy.
5.3.8 The company’s
training and development policies were well coordinated which sustained the
effectiveness of vocational training.
apprenticeship programme had duration of 2-3 years with students receiving
stipends during the duration of the programme.
Institutional memory of the company was sustained tremendously and this led to
5.4 Meeting with Humboldt University
5.4.1 The German
university system differed significantly with the vocational training
institutions to such an extent that students who chose vocational training had
minimal chances of studying in universities.
university conducted research that was based on societal needs with little or
no political influence.
5.4.3 University councils consisted
of university staff and no members of communities or other constituencies were
allowed in the council. The councils consisted of 10 members.
university had a serious drop-out rate which was a major challenge.
university was considering the possibility of offering free undergraduate education
where learning would be fully susbsidised by the
university was willing to admit more international students including those
coming from South Africa.
5.4.7 The German
political organs respected the institutional autonomy and academic freedom of
the universities because the time span of politicians was too short to enable
proposed solutions to work effectively. The Committee also supported the
autonomy of the universities because the political environment changed from
time to time.
5.4.8 The articulation
process from vocational education and training to university was in place
though it was underutilised.
university had partnerships with only the best performing Western Cape institutions.
5.5 Meeting with
Bundesminsterium fur wirtschftliche Zusammenarbet und Entwicklung / Federal
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development & Gesellschaft
für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
5.5.1 The Committee
commended the involvement of the German government in the development programmes in South Africa.
5.5.2 The strategy
of the Ministry was to build capacity of the developing nation’s skills
5.5.3 There was a need
for the Committee to obtain more information on the developmental partnership
with the GIZ.
5.6 Befufsfortbildungswerk (bfw)
institution provided an opportunity for those with no formal schooling to
obtain employment opportunities and participate in the economy.
institution was committed to its vocational training to such an extent that programmes had duration of 2-3 years and trainees were
assisted in obtaining employment after completion of the programme.
5.6.3 The tracer
system used by the institution was effective, a factor that many training centres in South
5.6.4 There was a
high absorption rate in the labour market for
trainees who had undergone training at bfw owing to
its good relations with companies.
5.6.5 The success
rate of trainees who trained at bfw was commendable.
5.6.6 Trainees were
also offered social support (stipends) in addition to the vocational training
in order to complete the training successfully.
5.6.7 University graduates with no
employment were retrained for new programmes to
enhance their chances of obtaining employment.
5.6.8 The utilisation of funding for the training programme was very
5.7 Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Forschung / Federal
Ministry of Education and Research
5.7.1 The Ministry
acknowledged that its higher education system was not as effective as the vocational
education system, owing to the fact that many young people exited the school
system without university exemption.
5.7.2 The majority
of learners in Germany
chose the VET system since it offered more opportunities to gain employment and
income while on training compared to university education.
5.7.3 The 2012 Year
of Science partnership between Germany
and South Africa
was an opportunity for the country’s higher education institutions to improve
their research and development initiatives. It was also an opportunity for
industries to invest in this partnership to move towards green jobs.
5.7.4 The German
government was willing to assist the South African post school education and
training system through its partnership and development initiatives.
5.8 Handswerkskammer Klobenz / Chamber of Skilled Crafts
5.8.1 The training
facility had a high level type of training for apprentices who met the standards required by the industry as well as the
5.8.2 The equipment
at the facility included the latest technology utilized by its member
industries. The machinery used to train the apprentices was mostly donated by
industries (industry driven initiative).
5.8.3 In South Africa, unlike Germany, the main challenge was the
lack of willingness in many companies to train and develop young people.
5.8.4 FET college
lecturers would benefit being trained at this facility since it was willing to
assist South Africa
to improve its capacity in skills development.
5.9 Bundesinstitut fur Berufsbildung (BiBB) / Federal
Institute for Vocational Training and International Marketing for Vocational
5.9.1 The BiBB was an international institution of research and
development in the VET system and it was also responsible for the development
of the curriculum of the VET system.
5.9.2 The VET
system was market driven and most of the funds for the training and development
of students were contributed by companies.
5.9.3 The BiBB advised the delegation that skills development
policies in South Africa
should be aligned to economic policies to reduce unemployment.
5.9.4 Investment in
research and development for the VET system curriculum contributed to its
5.9.5 The iMove was responsible for marketing the VET system
internationally and its market strategy was very successful in obtaining
of productivity and increase in exports could be attributed to the success of
the VET system.
5.9.7 Germany was the second country after China to be the
largest exporter to foreign countries.
6. Site Observations
Committee on Higher Education and Training having conducted site observations
to various training facilities noted the following key issues:
6.1.1 The training
centre offered both theory and practical learning for the trainees.
6.1.2 The majority
of students in the training programme expressed their happiness with their
choice of career.
6.1.3 The machinery
used by students included the latest technology on the market for mechatronics.
6.1.4 Students were
mostly trained by problem solving in various electronic devices produced by the
6.2 Handswerkskammer Klobenz / Chamber of Skilled Crafts
6.2.1 Trainees were
offered theory and practicals located in the same
venue, which made training easier for them.
6.2.2 The electro
mechanical workshop included the latest cars donated by large car manufacturing
companies such as Mercedes Benz, Bavarian Motor Works (BMW)
and Volkswagen. The trainees were likely to be absorbed by those companies upon
completion of exams.
6.2.3 The welding
workshop was well coordinated and specifically trained young people for high
level welding. A good welder in Germany
could earn a higher salary than an engineer owing to the importance of their
work and the large utilization of steel for the manufacturing of cars.
automation workshop was responsible for training students who had an interest
in air conditioning technology. Heating and cooling technology was very popular
owing to its climatic conditions.
6.2.5 The Solar
power laboratory was responsible for the development of green energy. Trainees
were taught how to build solar power systems as well as fitting them in houses.
The solar power systems had a lifespan of 25 years and were very sustainable.
The seven days
international study tour to the Federal Republic of Germany was a success for
the Committee. The objective of the visit was to obtain insight on the
structure and development of the skills development and post schooling education
system, which was achieved. The delegation visited federal institutes such as
the South African Embassy, the German Parliament, the Federal Ministry of
Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and
Development and the Federal Institute for Vocational Training. In terms of
industries and training institutions, the delegation visited Siemens, the Chamber
of Skilled Crafts, bfw, Humboldt University,
and the Confederation of German Trade Unions.
The meetings with
the federal institutes provided an opportunity for the delegation to strengthen
the partnerships between South Africa
especially in higher education and training matters. The German Year of Science
2012 which will be launched in April 2012 was one among many outstanding
examples of the German Federal Government’s Strategy for the
Internationalization of Science and Research carried out together with a
strategically important partner country and, focused on research, education and
innovation. The Committee was invited by the German government to be part of
the launch of this event in April 2012. The South African – German Development
will launch the new Green Skills programme in early 2012 which would assist the
country in developing its Green Skills programme.
The visits to
various industries and training institutions responsible for vocational
training provided the delegation with an opportunity to observe the dual
education system on site. The visit to Siemens, the largest telemobile
company in Germany,
offered an opportunity for the delegation to engage with students and observe
their practical work. The majority of the students acknowledged that the VET
system was a good career choice owing to its advantages. The visit to the Humboldt University,
the only university visited during the study tour, gave insight into the higher
education landscape of Germany.
The delegation was amazed that even Germany had a similar challenge of
drop out rate in universities. The proportion of students who went to the
university was very low compared with students who took the VET route.
The role played by
small, private training providers proved to be very effective in addressing the
challenge of unemployment. The visit to the bfw, a
small private training institution gave an insight into the role of small,
private training institutions in skills development. The bwf
operated successfully with the limited resources it possessed. Unemployed
people and even those with no formal schooling were trained and assisted in
formed part of the recommendations:
- To eliminate the problem of mismatch between what the
training institutions produce and the needs of industry / labour market, the vocational education and training
curriculum should be developed in partnership with stakeholders (The Department
of HET, FET Colleges, industry, regulatory
- The Department, in partnership with FET Colleges and
the industry should constantly review the vocational education and training
programmes for the purpose of modernization in
order to make them fit for their purpose (relevant and responsive to the
needs of the labour market / requirements of the
- The Department should consider developing assessments
and standards for all vocational education and training programmes to promote the same level of quality
provisions in all training institutions (including private providers,
companies, and state-owned parastatals) in order
to dispense with the disparities of the quality of training offered by
different institutions and organizations. For example, an artisan graduate
trained by Transnet should be at the same level
of skills and competency with a graduate from an FET College
- If the goal is to produce a highly specialized and
competent graduate, the Department should consider extending the duration
of training in leanerships programmes
so that student may obtain comprehensive training.
- Realizing that companies are not investing in practical
training as they may regard their contributions to training as paying a levy,
the Department should consider passing legislation that will compel
companies to be involved in training since they also benefit from a skilled
and competent workforce.
- Given that 57 percent of FET lecturers are unqualified,
the Department should, as a matter of urgency, facilitate the development
of a qualification for FET lecturers in partnership with South African
Qualifications Authority and higher education institutions. There is also
a need for the development of an in-service training programme for the
lecturers who are already in the system such as the National Professional
Diploma in Education (NPDE) offered to unqualified and under-qualified
teachers to improve their skills and competencies.
- The Departments of Higher Education and Basic Education
should review the alternative educational paths after compulsory education
(Grade 9) since the current model channels most learners into a uniform
academic stream only (Matric). It only favours those who successfully complete Matric and discards those who do not. If different
streams of secondary education could be introduced, for example, initial
vocational education (dual system) in different fields, learners will
complete their secondary education with a certificate and skills and
competencies which will immediately enable them to join the labour market. This will go a long way towards
eliminating the challenge of a high dropout rate and a situation whereby
learners complete their matric and return to enroll
in FET programmes that are lower qualifications
than they have already obtained.
- The Department should develop the Further Education and
Training (FET) colleges to increase the number of artisans produced for
industries. More investment in latest industrial equipment used in
industries should be made accessible to learners in FET colleges.
- Given the fact that most student who completed their
theoretical training in FET colleges and Universities of Technology
struggled to obtain workplace learning, the Department should consider legislation
that would make it compulsory for well established companies to take
students for experiential learning to address the challenge of
unemployment among young people.
- The occupational programmes
offered by FET colleges should be aligned with industry needs, and there
should be a strong partnership between industries and FET colleges.
- The Department should use the opportunity offered by the
Chamber of Skilled Crafts in offering South African lecturers training in highly
technical machinery and equipment.
- The Department should develop an effective and
efficient tracer system to track all students in the post school education
- The higher education and training institutions should consider
developing programmes aimed at improving Green
Skills for the economy.
- The partnership between Humboldt
University and Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape
Town should be expanded to include the previously
to be considered