In 2006, the South African Government established a Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) programme to address skills shortages in the country. The 2006 Provincial Jobs Summit recommended the establishment of an Education and Human Development Advisory Council and in November 2007, the provincial government decided to set up a Jipsa-like structure in the Eastern Cape. Its secretariat was housed at Ecsess. In 2010, following national policy changes, Jipsa – EC was reconfigured as the Eastern Cape HRD Council.
The council is a multi-stakeholder platform that advises the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Council (EXCO) and departments on HRD-related matters. Its mandate is to:
- Be a strategic advisory forum to Provincial EXCO on HRD-related matters;
- Coordinate the Provincial HRD Strategy;
- Advise government on priority interventions for HRD;
- Advocate for the effective involvement of sectors and organisations in implementing interventions;
- Monitor the implementation of the interventions;
- Build partnerships with all sectors for an expanded provincial response;
- Mobilise resources for the implementation of the interventions;
- Recommend and decide on appropriate research and
- Consider reports by statutory and other relevant structures such the PDSF, the Education Advisory Council, etc.
The following send representatives to the council: Provincial government, government entities, organised labour, organised business, post-schooling institutions, organised civil society, sector education and training authorities.
Key work done by the council has included support to further education and training colleges and higher education institutions, implementation of measures to improve quality of teaching and learning in education and training institutions and facilitation of HRD interventions in priority economic sectors.
Key initiatives in the pipeline include support for basic education focusing on literacy, numeracy and cognitive development; promotion and support for technical education and work-integrated learning in post-schooling and design of human capital interventions that contribute to positive labour market outcomes.
In future there needs to be a better alignment of HRD with provincial socio-economic imperatives. Human resources development must be at the centre of the province’s strategy for economic growth and development. Partnerships and collaboration must also be strengthened. A collaboration model must be designed based on the council’s agenda, taking into account strengths, interests and strategic location of every council member. The policy advisory capacity of the council also needs to be augmented to ensure that it provides sound and effective policy advice to government. The broad thrust of its mandate must incline more towards economic development. More effective participation by members of the executive council deployed to the council is paramount because it influences participation of leaders from other sectors.