There are al­ter­na­tives to univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion

The New Age (Gauteng) - - COMMENT -

A MATRIC qual­i­fi­ca­tion these days is no longer enough. You at least need a post-matric qual­i­fi­ca­tion – if not a mas­ters de­gree – to stand a bet­ter chance to land­ing a well pay­ing job. Many ma­tric­u­lants pre­fer to study at a univer­sity in the face of the per­cep­tion that hav­ing a de­gree is the key to a bright fu­ture. There are many univer­sity grad­u­ates who are job­less.

Fur­ther Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (FET) in­sti­tu­tions are an al­ter­na­tive for ma­tric­u­lants who want to fur­ther their stud­ies but don’t qual­ify for univer­sity or lack fi­nance. The ad­van­tage is that ac­cess is easy and fees are rea­son­able. The gov­ern­ment is also pump­ing a lot of money into these in­sti­tu­tions.

Yet ma­tric­u­lants dis­re­gard FETs and don’t see them as an al­ter­na­tive. There are var­i­ous fac­tors con­tribut­ing to this at­ti­tude. The gov­ern­ment doesn’t pro­mote FETs enough, if at all. There is also a high level of lack of dis­ci­pline in this in­sti­tu­tions. Not for­get­ting the is­sue of un­qual­i­fied lec­tur­ers as a re­sult of nepo­tism and crony­ism.

Chaos reigns there. The other day a friend re­lated his sis­ter’s story to me. His younger sis­ter stud­ied at an FET four years ago. To date, she’s yet to get her exam re­sults. He’s tried every­thing – in­clud­ing writ­ing to the Min­is­ter of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion – try­ing to help his sis­ter get her re­sults but to no avail. He has given up.

Re­gard­less, it is still my con­sid­ered view that FETs are an al­ter­na­tive for ma­tric­u­lants. They can make the most out of their qual­i­fi­ca­tions, de­spite the chal­lenges fac­ing this in­sti­tu­tion. Dur­ing the height of apartheid, Bantu ed­u­ca­tion was in­fe­rior and lim­ited the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple of this coun­try to cer­tain ca­reers. Yet some made the most out of it and be­came top lawyers, doc­tors, CEOs and so on. In their quest to fur­ther their stud­ies, ma­tric­u­lants should also con­sider this in­sti­tu­tion.

For the record, I’m not in any way mak­ing a case against study­ing at univer­sity. Not at all. All I’m try­ing to do is to dis­pel the myth that hav­ing a de­gree is the only aca­demic way to a bet­ter fu­ture. There are other ways other than study­ing at univer­sity.

Tha­bile Mange

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