What did we need most — education or skills?

The head of Investec’s corporate social investment programme, Setlogane Manchidi, sits atop a R90m-R100m budget each year to do some good out of the glare of analysts or the advertising department. And he does.
He tells Peter Bruce in this edition of Podcasts from the Edge that at any one time he is in the lives of up to 4,000 young citizens at school, university and entering working life. His programme organises extra math and science classes at schools, provides bursaries to good universities and chaperones its charges into the world of work and enterprise.
But, in a way, education is an easy choice. Much of the R10bn corporate SA spend on CSI every year goes to education. It’s an easy choice. But it excludes practically, skills, which, arguably, we need more than mathematicians.
Listen as the pair discuss research that suggests fast growing economies such as China and Thailand have on average lower educational outcomes than slower ones.
What are we missing? Have we misunderstood the transmission of skills and the importance of a society being able to do a wide variety of things? Skills are passed between humans in a way that an education may not.
We have, laments Manchidi, abandoned apprenticeships. Our convention is that everything has to be a university or it doesn’t count. That’s got to be wrong. President Cyril Ramaphosa should talk to people like Setlogane Manchidi before he signs off on the next social compact. Details matter.