De­gree not the only op­tion

Daily News - - VIEWS & ANALYSIS -

THE ma­tric class of 2016 has recorded a slight in­crease of pupil pass rate com­pared to the class of 2015. These pupils are now go­ing to em­bark on a jour­ney to­wards the at­tain­ment of a higher qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Ter­tiary institutions will be over­bur­dened by the num­ber of stu­dents in­tend­ing to en­ter the sys­tem.

This is be­cause the #FeesMustFall cam­paign last year made it im­pos­si­ble for some stu­dents to grad­u­ate, as the writ­ing of ex­am­i­na­tions was ei­ther de­layed or de­ferred to this year.

While the cam­paign had honourable ob­jec­tives, the reper­cus­sions were dire, adding salt to the al­ready ex­ist­ing wound of lim­ited space at the institutions of higher learn­ing.

The chal­lenge that faces this coun­try is that, de­spite the short­age of space at uni­ver­si­ties, ed­u­ca­tion re­mains the only tool avail­able to some young peo­ple to lift them­selves and their fam­i­lies out of poverty.

The class of 2016 and the youth in gen­eral should also con­sider oc­cu­pa­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Oc­cu­pa­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions in­clude qual­i­fi­ca­tions like hot wa­ter sys­tem in­stal­la­tion, or­gan­i­sa­tional risk man­age­ment or be­com­ing a li­brary as­sis­tant, to name but a few.

The main ad­van­tages of these qual­i­fi­ca­tions are that they are rel­e­vant to the in­dus­try, the cur­ricu­lum is up to date, and they take into con­sid­er­a­tion the needs of the 21st cen­tury econ­omy.

Fur­ther­more, these qual­i­fi­ca­tions are rig­or­ously qual­ity as­sured by the Qual­ity Coun­cil for Trades and Oc­cu­pa­tions (QCTO), which is the body en­trusted with the re­spon­si­bil­ity to de­velop and qual­ity-as­sure these qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Im­por­tantly, these qual­i­fi­ca­tions are reg­is­tered with the South African Qual­i­fi­ca­tion Author­ity.

Get­ting a de­gree from univer­sity is just one el­e­ment of the post-school ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Oc­cu­pa­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­main a vi­able op­tion for our youth, and the class of 2016 in par­tic­u­lar.

These qual­i­fi­ca­tions are more than rel­e­vant to the econ­omy. THOBANI KAMAJWABANA MH­LONGO


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