Message from Director-General

is my pleasure to present this special edition of the annual Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) Research Bulletin on Post-School Education and Training (PSET). This year marks the eighth edition of the Research Bulletin, an achievement of which the Department is most proud. The purpose of the annual Research Bulletin is to share examples of the latest research on PSET, which covers Universities, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges, Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges, Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), and Qualifications and Quality Assurance Bodies. The Research Bulletin serves to draw the creators and users of post-school research closer to one another to inform policy and practice. The previous seven editions of the Research Bulletin can be found on the Department’s website at www.dhet.gov.za.

This edition of the Bulletin focuses on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is an extension of the dialogue, debate and research shared at the 2019 DHET Research Colloquium on the implications of the 4IR on PSET. This theme was selected given its significance in the current landscape, with technology increasingly taking over many core functions in the labour market, and in society at large. In addition, given the recent union of the DHET with that of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), where the 4IR is a critical component to the work of the DSI, and one that is radically changing the education and training landscape, the theme of the 4IR was a fitting choice to focus our attention on, in our first year as a dual Ministry.

The use of the term 4IR is highly contested both nationally, as well as internationally. There is considerable debate as to whether we are indeed in an era of 4IR when many parts of the world still struggle with access to basic services and technology. Some might argue that we are still in the 2nd or 3rd industrial revolution. The Department views the notion of 4IR as a concept that reflects rapid changes in technology that affect the paradigm of how we work and live. The Department strives to leverage the opportunities provided by 4IR to achieve our goals of access, quality and success in the PSET system. It also aims to provide our stakeholders and beneficiaries with information and insights that will assist them to keep abreast of the changing landscape.

Each contribution made to this edition of the Bulletin demonstrates the considerable influence of the 4IR on the sector. Research has now become our biggest ally in trying to create understanding and awareness of the impact of the 4IR, whilst also affording us with the opportunity to uncover how best to use the 4IR as a tool for our success, one that will allow citizens to not only survive, but thrive in this ever-changing economy

As technology brings change to our environment, we must adapt, learn and relearn as is required. It is only through research that we will be afforded sight of the possible changes to come. I encourage us all to embrace the research, interrogate it, debate it, and use the evidence to inform the way forward. Research should be used to our advantage to guide our steps in decisions, policies and strategy.

I extend my thanks and appreciation to each and every contributor of this year’s Research Bulletin. It is only through your support that we have something of value to share with the research community. And it is through your efforts in the sector, that we are able to gain insights into underlying challenges in the PSET sector, as well as opportunities that can be taken forward, to improve the sector for the current and future citizens of the country. Thank you for making a difference and for being part of the change for a transformed PSET system.