Does experience outweigh the need for formal education?
Graduate student with formal education
It has been confirmed that more than 25% of senior government managers do not have the necessary formal qualifications for the positions they hold. While these individuals may have the necessary experience, the question arises as to whether or not formal education is outweighed by experience.
Recently Ministry of Public Service and Administration published a vacancy circular. The circular states that as part of the requirements for the post of Director of the National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC), an applicant should:
Hold a Grade 12 Certificate, Bachelor or Advanced Diploma in Project Management / Human Resource Development / Public Administration / Public Management / Development Studies (NQF Level 7)
Have five years of experience as a middle/senior manager.
However, Acting Minister Thulas Nxesi of the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) revealed that 2,364 senior civil servants were not academically qualified for their jobs.
It is reported that half of these managers were in national government departments, while 214 of them worked for the South African Police Service (SAPS).
In an interview, the founder of the I Can Help Africa Foundation (ICHAF) Training Institute, Devan Moonsamy said:
If someone is not properly qualified, there will always be questions about how effective they will be at their job.
For this reason, Moonsamy also emphasized that experiential learning is important but should not replace educational learning.
Some experts may come up with an alternative view, arguing that experience trumps formal education. The ICHAF training institute suggested that relying on experience alone is a dangerous game.
Moonsamy also said it’s never too late to get qualified if you already have the relevant experience.
According to the University of South Africa (Unisa), your experience could translate into subject credits within your qualification or direct access to undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
Unisa has opened applications for the 2023 academic year, you can also do further research on what qualifications are available for RPL.
See our website for more information on applying to university 2023.