South Africa: SADC committed to improving access to quality higher education

Gaborone — The SADC education and skills development sector recognizes the importance of human development and the challenges facing the region.

Speaking at the 17th IDM joint graduation ceremony of Botswana, Lesotho and eSwatini recently in Gaborone, Assistant Minister to the President of the State, Mr Dumizweni Mthimkhulu said industrial development and poverty alleviation can be addressed through education.

He also said SADC countries were committed to improving access to quality higher education, as illustrated by enrollment rates of about 25 percent, higher than the sub-Saharan average of nine percent, while Botswana’s was about 20 percent.

Minister Mthimkhulu also said the employment and labor sector in the region has noticed a mismatch between SADC’s strong economy and unemployment rates, particularly among the youth.

He said it is the responsibility of higher education institutions like IDM to rise to the challenge and play a significant role in developing and offering programs that would improve access to quality higher education.

He said the rapid advancement in technology has forced higher education institutions to reorient, adapt and embrace change to remain relevant, adding that the fourth industrial revolution is upon them, so they must adapt and innovate.

“Change is an inevitable aspect that we will all experience through the stages of life,” he said.

Minister Mthimkhulu said that instead of seeing change as a threat, graduates should see it as an opportunity for self-improvement, adding that they need a change in mindset to embrace change.