The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Free State is pleased with the Education Alliance meeting which took place on the 1st of June 2022.
The gathering was attended by members of COSATU’s Young Workers Forum, the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), Young Communist League of South Africa(YCLSA) and the Congress of South African Students (COSAS). Whilst several other fraternal organisations couldn’t attend, the meeting was highly successful.
The convening of the meeting was among the resolutions made at the 5th COSATU Provincial Congress which directed that an Education Alliance meeting should be held as a lead up to the preparations for the Education Summit.
Deliberations on the summit accentuated the need to attend to the apparent disjuncture between the education offered at basic and higher education levels and what it equates to in the workplace and the economy at large.
The summit should therefore reflect on the current performance of the economy and the skills needed in the workplace. It should find mechanisms to ensure the alignment between what is offered in the basic and higher education sphere and whether this serves as a catalyst for economic growth.
The congress acknowledged the anomalies and deficiencies that continue to ravage the funding for higher education, especially for the needy students through NSFAS. The challenges facing higher education institutions will hence be addressed with the urgency they deserve. Related to the issues of funding, was the protracted strike at UNISA. The Federation reiterates its call for management to accede to the demands of the workers to end the strike.
A directive has been given for the summit to investigate the reasons behind the unacceptable and ever-increasing number of unemployed graduates in various disciplines. Additionally, a comprehensive plan will follow with aims to address this by identifying campaigns and programmes which will culminate in the eradication of this phenomenon in the long-term.
The congress also noted the dismal performance of the workplace skills plans across the sectors. It has also emerged that some funds from the skills levy end up on the bottom line as either savings, profits or some unexplained income in many instances. Furthermore, SETA funding has been redirected to the training needs of senior managers more those of the workers on the lower end of the scale.
As attendees of this Education Alliance meeting, we have outlined proper processes for the PEC to ratify for the success of the summit.
It is apparent that there is a dire need for a decolonized education system which will not only create employment opportunities but also create an environment where employers and graduates will think outside the box to solve the long list of challenges facing our country and economy.
As a final contributor, leadership must be cooperative and willingly partner with all stakeholders to venture into processes of evidence based decision making.
The struggle continues!
Issued by COSATU Free State
Enquiries Provincial Secretary Monyatso oa Mahlatsi @ 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923