Pretoria - South Africa has invested a lot of its skills levy fund on short courses which are of "dubious value" amid a backlog in artisans, accountants and engineers, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande
said on Tuesday.
Nzimande said he did not advocate the scrapping of short courses, but that there was a need to strike a balance.
"We can't have a training system that is 75%, 80% short course... We invest a lot of skills levy money into short courses, some of which have no value.
"We need to begin to be more biased towards a structured occupational trade and professional programme, because that is where we are short," he said after addressing a meeting of professional bodies.
Nzimande said an unintended consequence of the establishment of a Sector Education and Training Authorities system was the generation of an industry of short courses, which were "easy money" for consultants.
"As a country, we have to think bigger than that and as government we have a bigger responsibility to say we need more artisans. Artisans require structured learning for a particular period."
He said a study conducted by the SA Institute for Chartered Accountants in 2008 indicated that the country was short of 5 000 chartered accountants and 17 000 accountants of technical grades.