South African higher education institutions are confronted with a myriad of new policies, legislation and qualification frameworks. There are governmental, institutional, community and student demands for new political awareness and commitment, the "Africanisation" of curricula and the addressing of language issues. Although change may be embedded in the policies, legislation and frameworks, there is often little evidence of real transformation at institutional or faculty level. Audits and research into the educational system and educational management in general, reveal dysfunctions between visions and realities due to the interplay of a complex web of factors. These include the enduring influence of structures and systems of a fragmented and discriminatory past, passive or hostile resistance to change (especially from academic staff, who show a natural aversion to training and development, mainly because it does not offer any financial gain), and inadequate resources (mainly the shortage of appropriate Education and Training Development (ETD) providers) to achieve significant and sustainable change. Since August 1999, all higher education institutions have embarked on training and development activities, focussing on the regulations of the Skills Development Act (no 97 of 1998) and the Employment Equity Act (no 55 of 1998). This article will attempt to provide a strategic perspective on skills development, as reflected by the Workplace Skills Plan of the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU).
South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.15(2) 2001: 37-40