KwaZulu-Natal is expanding its vocational training opportunities for learners and matrics with the opening of two new technical schools and the piloting of technical subjects like robotics and other vocational subjects that will be taught at school level in 2021.

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala made the announcement during an event to mark the release of matric results for the class of 2021 at the Anton Lembede Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy in La Mercy.

Special message for average matriculants and those who failed

Zikalala commended the matrics who passed the National Senior Certificate (NSC) exams saying their hard work had paid off but he added that he wanted to send a “special message” to all those who had not earned a diploma or bachelor pass and those who had failed.

“There remains an entire universe ahead of you outside of matric. We have developed an education system that embraces every human capacity from those who want to become engineers and pilots, to those who want to serve society as social workers and preachers,” Zikalala said.

“Success or failure is not defined by how one performs at Matric. Success depends on the choices that one makes in life and one’s commitment to the art of self-discipline and hard work. Our system has universities, universities of technology, but we want to encourage more and more people to take up Vocational Training and Skills Education,” he said.

Matrics technical skills needed in SA

Zikala said vocational education did not constitute a lower level of education but rather produced the skills needed in the country’s developing economy.

“We cannot grow our economy and create jobs unless we encourage innovation with more people who can use their hands to build, repair and maintain,” he said.

Zikalala said that by 20222 four new schools in KZN would implement the Teaching of Technical Occupational Subjects programme which the province had piloted in 2020.  These included Damarosa in Umlazi District, Westridge in Umlazi District, Tugela Pre-Vocational in Amajuba District and Newton in UMgungundlovu District. 

He said a further six schools in the province would also pilot the technical occupational subjects as part of the introduction of the third stream of the programme.  The schools included Justice Nxumalo in Umkhanyakude District, Falaza Technical High School in Zululand District, Sihayo Technical School in Umzinyathi District, Enkomokazini Technical High School in Uthukela District, Ingwemabala Comprehensive High School in Ugu District and Singisi Technical High School in Harry Gwala District. 

“In 2021, two technical high schools will be added to the seventy technical high schools that offer two or more technical subjects to bring the total to seventy two,” Zikalala said.

The Dabulamanzi Agricultural Focus School is also set to open in 2021 as an addition to the four existing agriculturally focused schools.

Robotics to be taught in schools

“Our educational offering must continue to equip every child with a variety of skills that provide opportunities for all. For this reason, we are pleased that sixty foundation phase schools supported by the province are piloting Coding and Robotics in Grades R to 3,” he said.

“There are 149 schools to be added to the 60 schools which have been selected to pilot coding and robotics in 2021 supported by Department of Basic Education.”

He added that in 2021 two schools will also pilot coding and drones as part of the curriculum for grades 8 and 9.

“Our schools must also teach Entrepreneurship and having piloted the programme in King Cetshwayo, in 2021/22 we are to upscale to include more districts,” he said.

READ: South Coast matrics get highest pass rate in province