News & Media

Developing the country's TVETs one college at a time


Harry Bopape (Director: Research Support) and Prof Thenjiwe Meyiwa (VP: Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation, and Commercialisation) congratulate Prof Sello Mokoena (CEDU) (centre) on his membership of the 2019 Unisa Million Rand Club.

Professor Sello Mokoena from the College of Education (CEDU) joined the 2019 Million Rand Club at Unisa’s 2020 Research & Innovation Awards. This is a university research and innovation initiative that aims to recognise researchers who have secured external funding for their research projects.

Mokoena has been involved in various achievements as a way of positioning CEDU and Unisa’s participation in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector. In light of this, in 2013 he initiated and led a collaborative discussion between the university and the TVET sector, which culminated in a signed memorandum of understanding.


Prof Sello Mokoena from the College of Education joined the Unisa 2019 Million Rand Club for the external funding of R1 925 000 he arranged to support the studies of 34 TVET college lecturers enrolled across various disciplines at the university.

In the same year, Mokoena further secured external funding to the tune of R600 000 to support 52 lecturers without professional qualifications recruited from Majuba TVET College in Newcastle. Through his leadership and the learner support services, which included contact classes every Saturday of each month in Newcastle, 47 out of 52 of these lecturers graduated and received their PGCE certificates in 2015.

There’s more; over the next 10 years, Mokoena will be leading a team of researchers and supervisors who are interested in doing research and supervising students who are lecturers at TVET colleges to pursue their studies at master’s and doctoral levels across Unisa disciplines. This is a new priority area for the South African Government, in particular the Department of Higher Education and Training. Research topics will be organised around the following themes: Tackling youth unemployment through TVETs, greening TVETs, work-based learning systems in TVETs, entrepreneurship and emerging trends in TVETs, quality assurance and monitoring in TVETs, and leadership in TVETs, among others.

Always seeking an opportunity to teach others, Mokoena has also led a team of supervisors who have expressed interest in supervising students who are lecturers from Majuba TVET College enrolled for master’s degrees in various fields of study at the university. These students’ research projects covered a range of challenges confronting the TVET sector. In light of this, he secured external funding of around R900 000. This cohort of students graduated with their master’s degrees in 2018. In addition, some supervisors have co-authored and published one or two articles with their students.

This master’s degree project has since been rolled out to other TVET colleges around the country. There are currently 34 students who are TVET college lecturers enrolled across various disciplines at Unisa. For this group, Mokoena once again secured external funding of R1 925 000 from the Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDPSETA) to support their studies, organise intervention workshops, and arrange the language editing of their dissertations, which earned him a place in the 2019 Million Rand Club. On completion of their degrees, the supervisors, together with the students, are expected to at least generate and publish one or two articles from the research projects in accredited journals.

Mokena’s passion and effort in developing the TVET sector is unparalleled, making him a fitting member of the Million Rand Club as he is firmly set on and aligned to Unisa’s vision of being the African university in the service of humanity.

*By Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2020/05/29