Debating High Skills and Joined-up Policy by Andre Kraak

By Andre Kraak

Debates approximately stable governance are more and more inquisitive about the coordination failure that happens while a number of enterprises are required to behave in live performance with one another, and this monograph appears at simply this sort of case within the South African government's efforts to "join up" education and paintings to supply a skilled labor force.  

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It is demand-led as Singapore encourages high-end production and innovation from those multinational corporations (MNCs) that it invites to the city state. The process of matching skills to the demands of MNCs is co-ordinated by the Economic Development Board. For those employed, the state has a battery of strategies for raising skills, largely through the incentives offered to companies to reorganise jobs so that higher skills are demanded. This is a process that has been highly effective with MNCs, but less so in terms of Singapore’s own SME sector.

These are multi-functional institutions that: • certificate apprenticeships; • transfer knowledge and best practice from the leading edge to SMEs; and • ensure that new knowledge is incorporated into their curricula. The training levy opens the way for these kinds of institutional functions, which in flexible markets have no counterpart (knowledge transfer relies on job hopping and poaching). It could enable upskilling through knowledge transfer and the reconstruction of job specifications, but it depends upon factors discussed below.

The issue is how much investment in the non-traded sector the state can afford. The reader will note that I have said little about education and training; that is because raising the demand for skills is the first step. One of the fundamental problems with the British route has been the human-capital 40 Debating High Skills Policy(5) 3/9/06 2:01 AM Page 41 THE HIGH-SKILLS THESIS assumption that supply will create its own demand. There is now a growing recognition that this is not the case, and I shall say a bit more about this later.

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