Setas - A Vehicle for the Skills Revolution?

Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas), established in terms of the Skills Development Act, 97 of 1998, were launched amid much fanfare and expectation of delivery towards achieving a skills revolution in the country. Upon their immediate establishment in March 2000, these perceived bureaucracies – which controlled the flow of billions – came under attack and became the subject of constant criticism. Over the years, this criticism has not abated and perceptions of Seta non-delivery has been exacerbated by recent reports that a resolution to the ‘skills crisis’ is critical for the success of government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Strategy for South Africa (Asgisa). The perception of a skills crisis has raised concerns as to whether Setas are responsive enough to the needs of employers (private and public) and the country as a whole. In view of these underlying sentiments, the University of Cape Town’s Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) commissioned a study to evaluate the role of Setas in contributing towards addressing the country’s skills needs. This study will seek to evaluate Seta performance since their inception by exploring: Seta functioning and distill, from a range of perceptions (and legislation), their core deliverables and responsibilities; Whether there are underlying factors – systemic or otherwise – which are impacting on the way in which Setas are supposed to operate; and Based on the findings of three case studies, recommend interventions to improve Seta performance.