The mining qualification authority (MQA) together with National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and UASA, were in Welkom over the weekend to celebrate International Literacy Day under the theme “Thuma mina through Adult Education and Training (AET) to the 4th industrial Revolution”.
International Literacy Day serves as a reminder of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.
Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, delivered the keynote speech. Nzimande spoke about the importance of education and how it must be used to fight poverty. He called on the private sector to work with government to buy old buildings and convert them into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges where people can learn the skills needed to provide for themselves.
Nzimande said the ministry is discussing with universities the possibility of courses for the fulltime employed as their needs differ from those of fulltime students.
The department was also working towards an Adult Matric Certificate by the year 2021 for people who left school long ago but are now keen to obtain a matric qualification, he said. Again, the needs of such people are different from 18 year olds and there should be a matric exam that is equivalent to that of high school children but tailored to suit the educational requirements of people who left school 15 or 20 years ago.
Two students from the AET encouraged mineworkers to obtain qualifications. Itumeleng Seakhoa said the AET provided him with opportunities he never thought possible as he was struggling to read and write. Ntombizodwa Danisa said she started from the bottom with no matric or other qualifications and now holds a mine overseer certificate amongst various other mining qualifications. She said women must take charge of their lives and make use of education opportunities. She said gender should not be a barrier and encouraged the women in attendance to be part of the next generation of mine overseers and managers.
UASA Divisional Manager and Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) board member Franz Stehring emphasised the importance of the labour movement and private sector working together to eradicate illiteracy and poverty.
UASA members from the Matjhabeng Region in Welkom were also in attendance.
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