Business Eswatini and ESHEC Forge Partnership to Address Skills Gap

By Phiwa Sikhondze

In a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at bridging the skills gap in Eswatini, the Eswatini Higher Education Council (ESHEC) and Business Eswatini (BE) have come together to address the pressing issue of accreditation of institutions of higher learning in the country.

The executive team of ESHEC, led by CEO, Dr. Loretta Mkhonta, convened at the War Room of BE to discuss the accreditation process and course content offered by academic institutions to combat the pervasive skills gaps and mismatch identified by employers, particularly in the private sector.

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, BE CEO, E. Nathi Dlamini, emphasized the critical need for relevant skills in light of the rapid changes brought about by the 4th industrial revolution.

He underscored that the proliferation of academic and technical institutions in the country claiming to produce skilled graduates has not effectively addressed the needs of the private sector, leading to a prevalent trend of re-training new hires upon recruitment.

“The sheer rapidity of change in the private sector means that relevant skills are increasingly hard to find. Employers have long decried the lack of skills in the market despite the proliferation of private academic and technical institutions around the country that lay claim to producing the skills needed to meet the needs of the private sector,” Dlamini said.

Acknowledging the shortcomings within the academic landscape, ESHEC revealed its commitment to a multi-pronged and comprehensive accreditation program focusing on course content and the quality of lecturers. 

Dr Mkhonta said that she could not conceal the fact that there are worrying shortcomings within the academic landscape which they’re busy addressing. She revealed that in cases that were found to be beyond fixing, they had to resort to closing down those institutions.

Dr. Mkhonta expressed concern over institutions failing to meet industry demands and stressed the importance of collaborative efforts between ESHEC and private sector employers under the umbrella of BE to leverage the synergistic opportunities that could arise from this partnership, which she hopes will expedite the delivery of skills solutions to industry.

As part of their strategic initiatives to combat youth unemployment, BE will involve ESHEC in sector meetings to engage industry leaders, fostering a platform for dialogue and partnership that aims to address the skills gap and propel Eswatini towards a more competitive and skilled workforce.

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