Time to craft 21st century curricula for 21st century skills – Prof Maluleke speaks at Vhembe TVET Curriculum Summit

by Phaphama Tshisikhawe

13 October 2023

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), delivered the keynote address at the Curriculum Summit of the Vhembe TVET College in Limpopo on 11 October 2023.

Prof Tinyiko Maluleke delivering a keynote address at the Curriculum Summit of the Vhembe TVET College in Limpopo.

In his keynote, which focused on how to overcome the curriculum crisis within the South African Post School Education and Training (PSET) sector, Prof Maluleke outlined and illustrated the manifestations of the curriculum crisis variously. 

He argued that the so-called ‘mismatch between higher education skills and the skills required by the job market’ is nothing but an articulation of one the most tragic outcomes of a largely irrelevant curriculum. Similarly, Prof Maluleke suggested that the often-exaggerated problem of unemployed and unemployable graduates, is a result of a curriculum that is at odds with the needs, not only of the job market but of society and the economy at large.

The problem, Prof Maluleke argued further, is that a curriculum underpinned largely by 20th century educational philosophies will not be able to help graduates navigate the 4IR era. Nor is it useful to train students for 20th century-style professions, many of which are being fundamentally changed, if not being phased out altogether by the advent of automation and Artificially Intelligent machines. 

He further argued that there is a need for a massive programme of reskilling and upskilling, not only of the workforce, but of the whole of society and therefore PSET curricula must take all of that into account.

Going forward, Prof Maluleke proposed several fundaments that must be factored into curriculum development in the 21st century. PSET curricula, he suggested, should be inspired by the “three documents that define the developmental trajectory of the country, continent and the world in which we live”, namely,  the South African National Development Plan (NDP), the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Prof Maluleke argued that these documents implicitly and explicitly contain the broad range of skills needed in our country, continent and the world today.

Noting how the NDP defined TVET colleges as “the backbone of technical vocation and training”, Prof Maluleke encouraged TVET colleges to aim to exceed the production of the 30 000 artisans per year by 2030, as indicated in the NDP. All curricula should have compulsory courses, modules and/or practicals on work-integrated learning, AI education, entrepreneurship and on the overcoming of Gender-Based Violence, as essential components.

Please click here to access the full speech.

Basani Hlekani, Principal at the Vhembe TVET College introducing Prof Tinyiko Maluleke at the Summit.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711  Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za