Letter | Use German college model

Image: Gallo Images / City Press / Herman Verwey

Low-skilled employees and jobs are under severe threat with recent exploration of the fourth industrial revolution.

Companies have already started revamping their business models through the incorporation of robots in their productions processes, which has resulted in reduced production and labour costs.

In a country with such extreme and dire social ills such as low employment levels, a mismatch of skills and employment requirements in the labour markets, and very high levels of poverty, this raises a very significant red flag.

In 2012 the government adopted the National Development Plan, the blueprint for the work the state had to undertake to eradicate social ills and lead all South Africans to economic prosperity.

There has been much talk of a new economic and industrial revolution that is on course to hit the world, and many developing countries, and more specifically African countries, face the reality once again of being left out of a global economic transition and disposition.

The World Economic Forum defines the fourth industrial revolution as the expansion of knowledge, technology and innovation through the amalgamation of both physical and digital technologies.

South Africa is a developing economy with a very specific industrial development agenda and requires an immediate injection of critical skills to benefit from the incoming fourth industrial revolution.

TVET colleges have this untouched potential of human capital, that is always overlooked by policymakers.

South Africa has 26 universities and approximately 50 registered TVET colleges, yet matrics who pass choose to pursue further studies at universities and not TVET colleges.

In Germany, which is South Africa’s second largest trading partner, 75% of total high school graduates attend colleges and technical educational training institutions.

The remaining 25% then attend universities. As a result of such an approach Germany remains one of the most industrialised nations in the world and most influential economic powerhouses in the world.

The South African government can learn a lot from its German counterparts and should be encouraged to make TVET colleges more fashionable to matriculants and the youth all over the country.

South Africa’s hope of achieving its industrial agenda lies within the TVET colleges.

We need engineers, nuclear physicists and nanotechnology experts who are entrepreneurial and equipped to spearhead South Africa to leverage the fourth industrial revolution.

Sandile Mjamba, post-graduate economics student and entrepreneur Nelson Mandela University