A Closer Look

South Africa | For vocational training affordable, good quality vocational training

Last month, a stampede at the University of Johannesburg killed the mother of a potential student, and injured several other people writes Sarah Emily Duff, an NRF postdoctoral research fellow at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Thousands of parents and prospective students had turned up to register – in all, around 85,000 students applied for only 11,000 places.

The government has announced measures to further open up access to higher education. In his state of the nation address, president Jacob Zuma announced the building of two new universities, and minister for higher education and training, Blade Nzimande, has committed to expanding the whole further and higher education sector…

The crux of the issue is that despite the fact there are about 600,000 unemployed graduates in South Africa, university education is seen as the only pathway to employment. I would rather the department of higher education and training invested in FET colleges – expanding access to their campuses, improving the quality of their diplomas, and providing scholarships to those who can’t afford tuition fees.

So do we continue failing students who don’t make the grade? Or do we drop our standards and allow as many to pass as possible? Given that 7.5 million South Africans are unemployed, I don’t think we should even be arguing about university entrance at the moment. We should be fixing our education system, and making affordable, good quality vocational training, which could conceivably lead to university education, more easily available…

Source:

Read More @ Dispatches from South Africa: the the case for vocational training | Higher Education Network | Guardian Professional.

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