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The Department of Higher Education and Training came into existence in May 2009 by proclamation and as part of the restructuring of Government in the domain of education. It became operational a year later in April 2010. Its establishment follows an ongoing debate about, inter alia, closer integration of education and training in the post schooling sector and the desire to steer and reconfigure this sector towards a new architecture which reorients existing complex organisational arrangements and already-existing practices. As a result, skills development and training became part of the mandate of the DHET, a function which was previously located within the Department of Labour. As part of the architectural re-configuration, the sector education and training authorities (SETAs) were moved from the Department of Labour to DHET in order to foster a more cooperative approach to skills development. We therefore assumed overall responsibility for tertiary education (universities and higher education institutions), technical and vocational training, and adult basic education and training, (ABET - formerly with the Old Department of Education) now called Adult Education and Training (AET) Centres. The new configuration of the DHET enables tremendous possibilities for cooperation and mutual support among post-school institutions for the benefit of the system as a whole, and for its students and other stakeholders.
It is against this backdrop that the transfer of the administrative functions of the Adult Education and Training (AET) and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges to the DHET is working against; to contribute to the formation and realisation of a single, coordinated and quality oriented higher education system.
The transfer of TVET Colleges (Formerly FET Colleges) and the AET from the provincial competency to the DHET was formalised through amendments to the FET Colleges Act, 2006. All sections of the FETCA Act have been activated except those dealing with the repeal of the AET Act of 2000, and commencement of Community Colleges, which will be activated on 1st April 2015. In this regard, all the legislative requirements necessary to give effect to the transfer have been fulfilled.
Labour Relations processes have also been complied with in that the requirements of Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act have been met. Collective Agreements for the transfer of TVET Colleges Support and Lecturing staff have been signed and ratified.