CENTRAL APPLICATION SERVICE
The Department of Higher Education and Training has established a project to establish the Central Application Service (CAS) in support of the National Development Plan (NDP) – Vision 2030. The NDP 2030 requires South Africa to have access to education and training of the highest quality, leading to significant improved learning outcomes. The CAS will contribute directly to the attainment of NDP 2030 access requirement. This is augmented by the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (2013) which views the CAS as a crucial move towards supporting informed access to universities and other Post School Education and Training (PSET) opportunities for students, and to make the choices and placement of students across the system more effective. CAS will provide a single, affordable, easy to understand application process, giving applicants access to multiple institutions covering the entire PSET sector. It will also facilitate planning for and reporting on the entire PSET sector. It is therefore the intention of the CAS to serve as an administrative service that will streamline and reduce the cost of applications, enabling multiple applications at a single cost, provide institutions with information on available applications, provide applicants with information on programmes, facilitate career guidance and enable the Ministry and institutions to monitor equity demographics.
Overview of CAS Project Activities
The Post School Education and Training (PSET) Central Application Service (CAS) project is implementing the following:
1. Central Application Clearing House (CACH) Service: an online self-help service through which rejected applicants are assisted to find alternative spaces within the PSET institutions for the period January to March every year with an intention to eliminate walk-ins at PSET Institutions;
2. PSET CAS consolidated Enterprise Architecture: The blueprint of the structure and operation of a CAS entity once established based on architecture principles and practices guiding the deployment of resources (information, human, technology and financial), and processes;
3. PSET CAS Prototype: In software technology, the term prototype is used to define a working example through which a new version of an existing technology software/system can be derived. A prototype serves as a basis for future versions. Prototyping gives designers an opportunity to research new alternatives and test the existing design to confirm functionality prior to production. A prototype has many benefits, such as the developer and the implementer getting valuable feedback from the user even before the actual project is started. The actual process adopted in creating a CAS prototype consists of the following steps:
a) Identify Basic Requirements: Basic requirements are determined, including input and output data needed.
b) Initial Prototype Creation: The solution architecture is developed and the initial technical application system is created.
c) Review: The clients and the end-users verify the prototype and provide valuable feedback on additions or deletions. Also necessary changes are made to the final product.
d) Revise and Improve the Prototype: Using the feedback from the client and end user, both the specifications and the prototype can be changed accordingly and improved. If changes are incorporated, a repeat of steps c) and d) may be required.
Only step a) has been completed and the subsequent step is still to be initiated.
4.Legislative programme: A process that will be followed to develop legislation for the establishment of a public entity called CAS. It is through this programme that the draft CAS Bill 2019 for public comment, is published on 18 April 2019 together with the first Social Economic Impact Assessment System (SEIAS) outcome. The following steps will then be followed:
a) the Department manage the public consultation process;
b) the Department conduct the second SEIAS process;
c) the Department submit the draft Bill for review to the State Law Advisors;
d) the Minister submit the draft Bill to Cabinet following consideration and deliberation by SPCHD Cluster for approval and introduction to the National Assembly.
e) the Bill is then introduced and tabled in the National Assembly for what is known as the First Reading. The Bill is also published in the Government Gazette.
f) the Bill is then referred to the relevant Committee in the National Assembly which considers the Bill and may agree to it, propose amendments or reject the Bill, generally after a process of public consultation.
g) the Second Reading then takes place where the Bill is debated and voted on at a sitting of the National Assembly.
h) if there is a majority of votes in favour, the Bill is passed and the Bill is then referred to the NCOP for consideration.
i) the NCOP can accept or reject the Bill or propose amendments to it. If the NCOP passes the Bill without amendments, it goes to the President for his assent and signature and the Bill then becomes law.
j) The Act appears in the Government Gazette and comes into effect on a date determined by the President.
Achievement to Date
1. In March 2016, the PSET CAS consolidated Enterprise Architecture blueprint was finalised and approved by the Minister on 06 April 2016 .
2. In May 2017, the Minister approved the policy for the PSET CAS and its promulgation in the government gazette. The policy was published in the Government Gazette Number 41226, Volume 629 of 2 November 2017.