Apr 19, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Credit: ewn.co.zaThe need for higher education reform is a priority for many countries. But colleges and universities can’t do it on their own, says South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who recently called for industry collaboration aimed at ensuring economic growth through a skilled workforce. Here’s a closer look at a recent speech delivered by Ramaphosa at the two-day National Skills Conference, as reported by AllAfrica.

Understanding the Skills Gap

The skills required of tomorrow’s workforce will not be the same as the skills required today. As a result, says Ramaphosa, colleges and universities must adapt their approaches to skills development to keep the future in their focus.

He said, “We need an education and training system that understands and anticipates the profound impact that technological change will have on our economy and society. We must develop the skills that people need now because people need jobs now. But we must be working just as hard to develop the skills that our people will need tomorrow."

The Role of Industry Stakeholders

Why does industry stand to play such a pivotal role in the process? Said Ramaphosa, "These are the people who know what skills are needed....Training at these institutions needs to become an attractive proposition for any young person seeking skills for meaningful employment. Industry needs to work with management to ensure that what is taught is relevant and that those who are doing the teaching are sufficiently knowledgeable and effectively equipped."

The South African government is committed to investing in the post-education sector to bring the desired education outcomes to fruition. According to AllAfrica, while the country currently designates no less than five percent of its gross domestic product to expanding access, improving quality, and increasing output in the education sector, additional funding has been designated for supporting both education and training in the years ahead.

Read more about studying business in South Africa.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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