College training for improvement of leadership in the new VCET Sector

Pic from left to right: Brendin Madaramoothoo (FB); René Bonzet (NL); Mkhulisi Nyoni (FB); Noxolisa Khanisa (FB); Dion Miller (NL); Chantal Lincoln (NL); Silwyn Heuvel (FB); Nondumiso

There is no contextualised leadership programme designed specifically for leaders of VCET colleges in South Africa (previously known as the FET sector), although specially-designed leadership programmes are offered in many countries throughout the world. The Green Paper of 2012 has recognised this gap and has specifically stated that by 2015, a leadership development programme for present and future leaders of FET colleges needs to be in place. With his appointment of the South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education (SAIVCE), Dr Blade Nzimande has recognised that if the VCET colleges are expected to perform optimally, the upskilling of all staff, including management, is essential and this will be one of the areas that will receive the attention of SAIVCE.
In the meantime, two colleges in the Western Cape, False Bay and Northlink Colleges, have been proactive and ten managerial members of staff, five from each of the two colleges, have enrolled at Stellenbosch University for a short course in VCET leadership development. The year-long programme is being funded by the ETDP Seta and is being co-ordinated by Cathy Robertson, former Deputy CEO at Boland College, presently working towards a PhD in VCET Leadership Development at the University of Sttellenbosch. This programme, which has a special focus of leadership in the African context, covers essential skills required by leaders of VCET colleges today, namely leadership styles like self-leadership, decision-making, the importance of performance appraisal, understanding legislation and the value of mentorship.
The attendance at two leadership symposiums forms part of the programme as well as a workshop in designing a VCET college leadership curriculum framework. “This programme is the best thing to have happened to me in a long time and should be rolled out to staff at all management levels, especially now with the transfer to DHET,” said René Bonzet, Head of Marketing, Communication & Advancement at Northlink College. “It is wonderful to actually learn something that can be applied in my work and to gain greater contextual understanding.”
After each of the monthly contact sessions, an assignment is handed in for assessment and moderation. Prof. Magda Fourie-Malherbe, one of the facilitators at the university, is most impressed with the standard of work delivered by the students. The EDTP Seta is to be commended for initiating this type of intervention in order to improve quality education in the VCET sector.

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