Update on Ministerial task teams and committees


Victor Mathonsi

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr B. E. Nzimande, places high value on research and consultative investigations as a basis for policy formulation.  This approach is particularly significant in the context of the establishment of the Department of Higher Education and Training in May 2009, and the challenge of creating a system for post-school education and training.   

The Minister therefore established a number of Ministerial Task Teams (MTTs) and Ministerial Committees to support the process of policy review and formulation.  The reports emanating from these structures have made penetrating contributions to the overall policy effort, including the development of the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (DHET, 2013). The reports can be found on the DHET website http://www.dhet.gov.za

Below is a brief status report on MTTs and Ministerial Committee activities:

System wide focus areas  

Ministerial Task Team on a National Strategy for the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)      

The report of the above Task Team was published for public comment in November 2012. An internal DHET task team has been established to take forward the work initiated by this committee.

Ministerial Committee on Articulation Policy

A Ministerial Committee on Articulation was established in August 2013. It submitted its report to the Minister in January 2014. The report has been presented to the Social Cluster, Delivery Agreement Technical Implementation Forum and Cabinet. The way forward will be determined following feedback expected from Cabinet.

Skills Development

Task Team on SETA Performance Review        

The review of SETA performance was published for public comment in August 2013 and later presented to Cabinet. An internal task team has been established to develop an implementation plan in relation to the recommendations emerging from the review. 

Vocational and Continuing Education and Training

The Ministerial Task Team on the South African Institute for Vocational and Continuing Education and Training (SAIVCET)         

The MTT report on SAIVCET was submitted to the Minister in 2013. A business plan is being prepared for submission to National Treasury. Once financing for the institute is secured, nominations for a council will be invited. 

The Ministerial Task Team on the Mathematics and Science Foundation Phase Programme      

The MTT report on Maths and Science was submitted to the Minister in January 2014. The line-function unit in the Department is in the process of developing an action plan and budget for a proposed pilot phase.

Ministerial Task Team to Review the National Certificate (Vocational)

The NC(V) MTT’s report was submitted to the Minister in March 2013. A stakeholder meeting was convened in July 2013 to consider the report. An extended consultative process was held in October 2013 with colleges and regional officials to crystallize the wide-ranging recommendations. Branch presentations were also made to solicit the views of DHET officials. The upshot is that the full suite of programmes envisaged for delivery in TVET colleges is under consideration in order to deal with duplications and gaps in provision.

Community Education and Training Centres      

The CETC MTT’s report was gazetted for public comment in April 2013. In a parallel process, the Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Act, 2013 (Act 1 of 2013) was assented to by the President in March 2013. This measure renamed the principal Act as the Continuing Education and Training Act, 2013. It brought Adult Education and Training (AET) into the college legislative framework and repealed the Adult Education and Training Act, 2000 (Act 52 of 2000). AET thus becomes a national responsibility of the Minister of Higher Education and Training. A new institutional type called the Community College has been declared.

Informed by these developments a draft turnaround strategy for AET has been developed and an internal task team is preparing a new AET institutional landscape which will include proposals to consolidate the more than 3000 existing Public Adult Education Centres (PALCs). A draft policy for Community Colleges and a draft model Community College have been developed. PALCs and FET Colleges have been visited in order to identify pilot Community College sites. Budget bids have been submitted for the establishment of Community Colleges.

Cooperatives Academy

The MTT on the Establishment of the Cooperatives Academy was appointed late in 2013 and work is in progress.


Ministerial Committee on Student Housing

The Report of the Ministerial Committee for the Review of the Provision of Student Housing at South African Universities (September 2011) was released in February 2012. In April 2013 a Draft Policy on Student Housing at Public Universities and Minimum Norms and Standards was published for comment. The Department is working on finalising the changes based on comments received and will release a final policy approved by the Minister later in 2014.


African languages panel

The Minister established the Advisory Panel in 2012. Work is in progress.

Fee free undergraduate education

In 2012 the Minister appointed a working group to determine the cost of introducing fee-free university education up to undergraduate level. Work is in progress.

Funding review

The Report of the Ministerial Committee on the Review of the Funding of Universities (October 2013) was gazetted on 28 February 2014. The Department appointed a Technical Team and Reference Group in February 2014 to model the implications of the recommendations of the Report over the next eight months and develop a draft revised funding framework for the Minister to release for public comment in 2015. 


The Ministerial Transformation Oversight Committee (TOC) was appointed in January 2013 to advise the Minister on policies and strategies to combat discrimination and promote positive institutional cultures for staff and students.

The chairperson of the TOC, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, Vice-Chancellor together with Professor Kesh Govinder (lead author) and Ms Normah Zondo of the University of KwaZulu-Natal produced an Equity Index (EI) as a tool to study transformation in universities. The EI had been canvassed with academic specialists and presented for discussion to university vice-chancellors and the DHET.

On 23 October 2013 the TOC presented the EI to the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training. The EI formula provided knowledge of areas of potential progress and improvement. Universities could now know where they were performing well and where they needed interventions. The study also allowed comparisons of different institutions and this was an opportunity for universities to learn from one another. The TOC was examining the need for qualitative indicators to balance the EI’s quantitative indicators.

For further information contact Victor Mathonsi, Director Special Projects at Mathonsi.v@dhet.gov.za

Quick links

Race and educational inequality

Book on the Doctorate

Fact sheet on NEET's

Evaluating the ‘MOT'

A case study of higher education curriculum

LMIP: Reconfiguring the post-schooling sector



The DHET skills forecasting model

Research update from SAQA

Update on ministerial task teams

Curriculum innovation programme (CIP)

LMIP fosters the research-policy nexus




Statistics on post-school education and training, 2012


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Contact Us


The Research Bulletin on Post-School Education and Training is prepared by the Directorate: Research Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation. Enquiries or contributions may be directed to: Lesego RamoseTel: 012 312 5657 Email: dhetresearch@dhet.gov.za Department of Higher Education and Training, 123 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria 0001