End the cycle of poverty by plugging the skills gap – Ramaphosa

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the National Skills Conference at St George’s Hotel in PretoriaPicture: GCIS
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the National Skills Conference at St George’s Hotel in PretoriaPicture: GCIS

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says children should be exposed to career choices much earlier in life because they will then “make informed” career choices.

“It is about ending the cycle of poverty, overcoming the devastating legacy of apartheid and colonialism,” Ramaphosa said addressing the national skills conference in Centurion today.

Ramaphosa said that the skills deficit that the economy faced today was a direct consequence of the racially segregated education system of our past – “apartheid policies deliberately denied black South Africans access to quality education and the skills required to advance beyond the most rudimentary occupations in the labour market”.

He said the government had implemented policies to reverse the racial inequalities in education, had expanded access to both basic and higher education and improved the skills of all South Africans.

“To better direct our efforts, we have developed the white paper for post-school education and training for the future of skills development in South Africa. It is our nation’s instrument to deepen the transformation of the whole post-schooling sector,” Ramaphosa added.

The deputy president also used the address to condemn the disruptions that unfolded at the higher education convention chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke last week.

The two-day forum was brought to a standstill when students threw chairs and water bottles at each other.

The sitting was aimed at finding a solution to the funding crisis in higher education.

“It is unacceptable for that kind of unruly behaviour when we’re trying to find solutions and craft ways of charting a way forward for the future of our students,” Ramaphosa said.

He urged South Africans to learn to tolerate and to listen to each other’s views without being violent to one another.

“We cannot have a South Africa of unruly people, who because they are unhappy with this person or that person, they start behaving in a most unacceptable manner.”

Ramaphosa concluded the conference with the plea for organisations to work together to address challenges and propose practical solutions.

“This conference must evaluate the progress we have made in implementing the [white paper] policy since November 2013.

“In all that we do, let us ensure that we pay attention to the voices of students and employers,” he closed off.

Ndileka Lujabe
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001
w:www.citypress.co.za  e: ndileka.lujabe@citypress.co.za

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