SOUTH Africa's Minister of Higher Education Dr Bonginkosi Nzimande has urged developing countries to make investment in education a priority in order to increase their chances of economic growth.
"Jamaicans at no stage should not believe that education is a priority," Dr Nzimande said during a visit to the HEART College of Beauty Services in St Andrew on Monday. "Despite this economic crisis that we have, we must not make the mistake of cutting back on investment in education. If you cut on education, you could even undermine your prospects for economic recovery because you haven't developed in human resource development and skills."
The minister, along with a delegation of six, is on a four-day visit to Jamaica which was suggested by Jamaica's high commissioner to South Africa from last year.
Stating that he was "positively impressed with the effort the Jamaican people were putting into education", Dr Nzimande described the HEART/NTA as a very "interesting model of work-integrated learning".
Dr Nzimande, in his presentation, noted that South Africa has a programme of vocational training, which is funded by a one per cent income deduction, similar to HEART/NTA's three per cent.
Executive director of HEART/NTA Dr Carolyn Hayle said there were possibilities of the HEART/NTA linking with South African tertiary education institutions to carry out research and to develop products from local materials for the market, in keeping with its mandate to develop a network of workforce colleges.