Fewer opt to study at TVET col­leges

Stu­dents mis­tak­enly be­lieve uni­ver­si­ties of­fer bet­ter prospects

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - TSHEGO LEPULE

CON­CERNS have been raised over the low num­ber of stu­dents who ap­plied for fund­ing to study at tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing (TVET) col­leges de­spite the gov­ern­ment’s plans to have more than two mil­lion stu­dents en­rolled at these in­sti­tu­tions.

Minister of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Naledi Pan­dor has an­nounced the fig­ures from this year’s ap­pli­ca­tion process for Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for prospec­tive stu­dents for next year.

“The 2019 ap­pli­ca­tion cy­cle has pro­ceeded rel­a­tively smoothly, with more than 400 000 ap­pli­ca­tions re­ceived be­tween the open­ing of ap­pli­ca­tions on Septem­ber 3 and the clos­ing of ap­pli­ca­tions on De­cem­ber 3,” she said.

“On av­er­age, NSFAS re­ceived more than 3 200 ap­pli­ca­tions a day over the pe­riod from Septem­ber to De­cem­ber, with the num­ber reach­ing as high as 30 000 a day over the last two weeks. Most of the ap­pli­cants were fe­males at 63% and males made up 36% of ap­pli­cants. How­ever, it is a concern that only 24% of the ap­pli­ca­tions are from learn­ers who wish to en­rol at TVET col­leges, with the bal­ance of 74% be­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for uni­ver­si­ties.”

This cast doubt on the gov­ern­ment’s goal of hav­ing 2.5 mil­lion stu­dents en­rolled in TVET col­leges by 2030. There are around 780 000 stu­dents reg­is­tered to study at TVET col­leges while uni­ver­si­ties have just un­der a mil­lion,per­haps be­cause of a per­cep­tion that one is more likely to get a job with a univer­sity qual­i­fi­ca­tion than with the pre­dom­i­nantly vo­ca­tional train­ing most TVET col­leges of­fer.

Ivan Swart, spokesper­son for North­link Col­lege, said the in­sti­tu­tion en­deav­ours to make it­self more at­trac­tive to prospec­tive stu­dents by shar­ing its suc­cess sto­ries and the va­ri­ety of pro­grammes it has to train and ed­u­cate stu­dents.

“Some prospec­tive stu­dents still think and per­ceive that hav­ing a univer­sity de­gree will give them a bet­ter fu­ture, but we have seen that stu­dents who have com­pleted their stud­ies with us have gone on to build suc­cess­ful busi­nesses and even cre­ate other train­ing and learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for oth­ers in their com­mu­nity,” he said.

“North­link Col­lege has a Work In­te­grated Learn­ing Depart­ment with strong re­la­tion­ships with var­i­ous in­dus­try play­ers and as a re­sult we are as­sist­ing the stu­dents to gain work­place ex­po­sure by plac­ing them with these in­dus­try lead­ers.”

El­bie Lieben­berg, prin­ci­pal at dis­tance learn­ing vo­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion Oxbridge Academy, said the coun­try con­tin­ued to show a de­mand for qual­i­fied and skilled work­ers de­spite the slug­gish econ­omy.

She said there was still a dis­pro­por­tion­ate fo­cus on gain­ing a univer­sity de­gree, de­spite hun­dreds of thou­sands of grad­u­ates are un­able to find em­ploy­ment af­ter spend­ing years study­ing.

“Too many young peo­ple opt for generic de­grees at uni­ver­si­ties, and then later find that they are not ad­e­quately pre­pared for the real world of work,” she said.

Ap­pli­cants reg­is­ter to study at CPUT. There are con­cerns that few stu­dents are reg­is­ter­ing at tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing col­leges. | David Ritchie

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.