Monday, 25 July 2011

Will Manuels billions improve our education?

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R140.4 billion has been allocated to the South African education sector. The impressive amount was announced by the minister of finance, Trevor Manuel, in his 2009 budget speech a few weeks back. Meanwhile ANC president, Jacob Zuma, has assured crowds of the Government’s priority to transform the education sector over the next five years. While this news is encouraging, will these funds be used to ensure students in higher education get quality training that prepares them for employment?
The evaluation and benchmarking of local qualifications using international standards is one way of maintaining an accepted standard of education for institutions that want to be seen as a cut above the rest.

Ian Yoell, Regional Director of Edexcel, the United Kingdom’s largest awarding body comments, “International accreditation confirms that an institution is independent, market-driven and focused on a broader and more comprehensive method of education than most. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive qualifications need to equip candidates for their chosen fields better than ever before.”

Yoell continues, “Edexcel’s unique combination of knowledge, resources, its experience of global best practice and innovation drives educational change and challenges students to achieve their educational and professional goals.”

Edexcel, operating in 110 countries around the world, believes it has the formula to assist with the improvement of education and qualifications frameworks. Budget alone may not be enough. It’s about using proven methods of education benchmarking that are creating a direct impact in emerging markets around the world. Such efforts are already creating positive effects in South Africa.

For more than five years Edexcel has assisted South African education centres and students in improving local qualifications standards, by measuring local qualifications to a suite of 5, 500 international qualifications that have been designed and utilised around the world.

Edexcel has established positive relationships with a number of higher education institutions such as the CTI, and the FoodBev Seta – whose aim is to promote, facilitate and incentivise skills development in the food and beverages manufacturing sector in South Africa.

“The partnership with Edexcel is particularly significant for us, as the organisation is a leading light in the global training sector, being the largest qualifications awarding body, with extensive curriculum and qualifications development experience,” says Ravin Deonarain the CEO of the FoodBev Seta.

“Edexcel is designed to elevate standards of training across the South African economy to international levels based on best practice, and to ensure that high-quality provision is achieved and maintained. Graduates completing the identified programmes will earn certificates with global credibility. We’re confident that this will be the first of many international alliances for FoodBev Seta,” adds Deonarain.

It’s vital that the allocated education budget is used in the best way possible to guarantee tangible benefits for South Africans. During this period of economic recession Government needs to ensure that unrivalled local qualifications translate into better skilled, work-ready people who can pursue careers that hold the promise of financial security.


Notes to editors

About Edexcel: Edexcel is the UK’s largest awarding body offering the joint currencies of academic and vocational qualifications in the UK and across 112 countries worldwide. In 2004 nearly 6 million entries were made for Edexcel’s qualifications, which include GNVQs, NVQs, international GCSE, A/S and A levels, and the suite of BTEC qualifications including the BTEC Higher National Certificate and Diploma.

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Published in Science and Education