OVERVIEW or apprenticeships. This enables adults and employed people to study after hours or to do enrichment courses. The Namaqua Maths and Science project (NaMaSci) is a partnership between the Northern Cape Department of Education and the University of Stellenbosch which aims to help students in the Namakwa district gain access to tertiary study. Tutors offer holiday classes in Springbok. Skills Through the Provincial Skills Development Forum, and in support of the Decade of the Artisan, 131 beneficiaries were enrolled in 2021 in various artisan trades. A further 79 completed their programmes and 63 qualified as artisans. Various other provincial government partnerships had these outcomes: • 75 agricultural graduates were placed in commercial enterprises for two years through the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) • 1 722 unemployed youth benefited from skills development programmes through SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authorities) • 50 unemployed youth will take part in an ETDP SETA New Venture Creation Skills Programme which will be run by the University of the Free State • 1 434 people graduated from the UIF Skills Programme (civil construction, plant production, assistant-chef, animal production and arc-welding) The Provincial Government of the Northern Cape runs several skills programmes, including the Artisan Construction Programme, a three-year incubation programme aimed at young people, the Phakamile Mabija Apprenticeship (artisan incubation programme) and the S’hamba Sonke Contractor Development Programme. Sol Plaatje University is teaching data analytical skills to undergraduates and many of them are moving into the financial sector on graduation. Another area where these skills are in great ONLINE RESOURCES National Department of Science and Innovation: www.dst.gov.za Northern Cape Department of Education: www.ncdoe.ncpg.gov.za Sol Plaatje University: www.spu.ac.za Square Kilometre Array: www.ska.ac.za demand is radio astronomy. One of the world’s great scientific ventures, the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope project, has been established near Carnarvon and the amount of data that it will generate is so great that it is difficult to comprehend. Many data analysts will be needed. Artisan training has also benefitted from the presence of SKA in Carnarvon. The new technical training centre has trained students as electricians, fitters and turners, in instrumentation, diesel mechanics, in IT and boiler-making, as well as in carpentry, plumbing, bricklaying and welding. With support from SKA, Carnarvon High School is the only school in the area offering maths and science. Five schools in the area participate in Lego Robotics programmes and a team of eight from Carnarvon High won a gold cup for “inspiration” at the 2019 International Lego League competition in Montevideo, Uruguay. Another contribution by SPU to the acquiring of digital skills goes beyond the confines of the campus through Hackathons, VacWork programmes and skills development outreach projects. This is done in collaboration with lecturers, Geekulcha students and the NCDev ecosystem (the first app developer ecosystem in the Northern Cape). Galeshewe now has its own mLab for applications development, thanks to a partnership between the provincial government, the National Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the Northern Cape Community Education and Training College. The syllabus will be aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). ■ NORTHERN CAPE BUSINESS 2022/23 40
A STUDENT RECRUITMENT INITIATIVE TO ATTRACT ACADEMICALLY TALENTED RURAL STUDENTS TO REGISTER AT SOL PLAATJE UNIVERSITY SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 2013, SOL PLAATJE UNIVERSITY (SPU) HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS AND HAS GROWN TO BECOME A PERMANENT PRESENCE IN KIMBERLEY, THE NORTHERN CAPE, AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN HIGHER EDUCATION SECTOR. Sol Plaatje University is still developing as a university, and faces significant challenges in meeting the steep student growth targets that the institution agreed to with the government. The demographics of both the student body and its graduates suggest that SPU attracts students from all nine provinces, with the main concentrations being from the major towns in the Northern Cape and the North-West Provinces. There is however a challenge in attracting students from rural areas. The Northern Cape and North West Province are two of the largest and most sparsely populated provinces in South Africa. The economic drivers in these provinces are mainly mining and agriculture, but new economies around the Square Kilometre Array project and alternative energies are emerging. Many rural learners are caught in the poverty trap after finishing their high school education because they cannot find opportunities within these major or emerging economies. Therefore, a lot of talent is lost because these learners, although talented, are precluded from going to University. In the absence of any sort of stimulus plan for education that will level the playing field for rural learners regarding access to higher education, Sol Plaatje University wants to create a pipeline of academically talented learners from rural areas and see them register for a tertiary qualification at the University.