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The Department of Higher Education and Training was formally established by law in terms of the Presidential Minute No 690 of 6 July 2009 and under Proclamation No 44 of 1 July 2009, the concurrent functions under the TVET Colleges Act, 2008 were transferred to the Minister of Higher Education and Training. The Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET) comprises of Public TVET Colleges, public Universities, National Institutes for Higher Education, Trade Testing Centres, Skills Development Institutes and SETAs
The mandate of the 50 public TVET Colleges is to steadily increase the number of students enrolled and trained in priority and critical skills areas, putting TVET Colleges at the centre of the skills development agenda of South Africa. This relates to equipping the unemployed, (specifically youth who is Not in Education, not in Employment and Training i.e. NEETs) with the requisite skills base to overcome poverty and the dilemma of unemployment.
The specific focus of public TVET Colleges is to address the skills shortages in SA, by offering relevant and responsive vocational and occupational programmes.