The 78,2% matric pass rate for 2013 is the highest pass rate in 20 years.
However, many school leavers have been left high and dry as South Africa?s
public universities are swamped by large numbers of applicants.
On the other hand, those who did not achieve a university pass or perhaps
did not obtain a matric have even fewer study options. Private tertiary education
providers are burgeoning in the face of the Government shortfall, stepping in to
offer a range of fully-accredited qualifications, especially to school leavers
without university exemption.
Of the 2013 matriculants, there were 171 755 matrics with a university pass.
The majority - 268 245 - did not have university pass, but still wanted to study
The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, has urged
students to enrol at one of the country?s Further Education and Training (FET)
colleges. There are public FET colleges and private FET colleges both of which
offer the same qualifications.
An FET college should be registered with the Department of Higher
Education and Training and its programmes must be accredited, either by
Umalusi or by a SETA.
Although many people think an FET education inferior to higher education,
this is simply not the case. A good FET college will deliver on the educational
programme it follows, and will provide a solid base of practical experience from
which a student will gain valuable skills and knowledge.
There are many private providers that offer FET only, or a blend of FET and
higher education. Quality private FET colleges offer their students good
infrastructure, support for learners and courses that provide the skills needed
for the workplace.
Milpark Education has just launched a range of FET qualifications for
students. Theuns Laubscher, Project Manager for the Milpark College, explains
that the value of the Milpark College FET programmes is that they offer students
the opportunity to study whether or not they have a National Senior Certificate
(NSC). FET programmes are aimed at preparing students for employment by
providing job-specific training, and offer a wide range of SETA qualifications,
According to Laubscher, South Africa?s 50 public FET Colleges offer the
National Certificate Vocational (NCV) qualifications, an alternative to the National
Senior Certificate, while a wide variety of SETA qualifications is offered by a
number of private providers, or through SETA learnerships. "Most SETA
qualifications are practical and have a comprehensive assessment process, so
students who pass SETA qualifications will have had to prove competence in
theory and practice, making them employable, often with hands-on experience.'
Milpark?s FET College offers Bookkeeping and Accounting, Office
Administration and Management, Small Business Financial Management, HR
Administration and Management, Computer User Specialist and International
Computer Certifications - skills that are in high demand. At Milpark, there is the
added benefit that all of the courses are available through distance learning, so
students can study in their own time while working to finance their studies.
"Statistics clearly show that the public post-school education system is not
able to provide enough opportunities for school leavers, and this is where the
private providers are able to step in and fill the skills training gap - much as
private schools do,' concludes Laubscher.