Entries open for Walk the Talk 2017

Entries open for Walk the Talk 2017

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Limited varsity space not the end

As the country celebrates the achievements of the Class of 2013 with statistics about pass rates, distinctions and university exemptions making the headlines, the reality for many hardworking youngsters is that despite having done enough to qualify for university entry, there are simply not enough places available at the country’s public institutions.

In 2013, a total of 181 921 matriculants from private and public schools passed with marks that would qualify them for tertiary education and Bachelors’ degree study.

Tens of thousands of these pupils will have applied to public universities however Dr Linda Meyer, Dean of Studies at Boston City Campus & Business College, says that approximately one in four applications that are made will be accepted.

‘If one uses the example of three leading public institutions in Gauteng – they have approximately 33 500 spaces for undergraduates but receives over 129 000 applications from matriculants who have qualified to study at university. The question is where do those who have not been accepted go? What alternatives do they have?’ she says.

The benefits of having a tertiary qualification are numerous, most significantly it increases the chance of employment.
‘Only six percent of graduates are unemployed with total youth unemployment currently sitting at 36%. South Africa’s graduate unemployment rate compares favourably with those of developed countries. Despite arguments that there is a crisis in graduate employment, the situation is quite healthy. An increasing number of black graduates are being employed in the private sector.’

The traditional correspondence study route does offer an alternative, however this methodology is not suited to everyone,’ explains Meyer. Only 45% of intakes at public institutions actually complete.’

What is needed are private higher education institutions which accommodate those who achieve university exemption but also offer the kind of comprehensive support structure that is needed to ensure students successfully complete their chosen field of study and are at the same time adequately prepared for the workplace.

At Boston City Campus & Business College where Meyer is Dean of Studies, approximately 70% of those that enrol actually complete their studies. This can be attributed to the student-centred focus, quality of staff and interactive engagement that students at Boston receive. More importantly, the graduate unemployment rate for holders of qualifications in commerce, science and accounting is as low as 3.1%.

‘Whilst public universities may be subsidised by the government and so are more affordable than private institutions, for many students the chance of dropping out or failing is far higher. This makes private higher education.


Study options for matriculants

Pretoria - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has announced a catalogue of opportunities for 2013 matriculants wishing to further their studies.

Nzimande announced that on top of two recently opened universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape, 12 new Further Education Training (FET) colleges will be opened during the year.

Nzimande said this at the backdrop of an increased National Senior Certificate pass rate from 73.9% in 2012 to 78.2% in 2013.  “This significant increase in successful candidates with predominantly Bachelor and Diploma entrance National Senior Certificates will have implications for the Department in relation to enrolments within higher education institutions. We are aware that this is a very important milestone in the lives of young people and we make them aware of approximately 396 449 opportunities available to them within the post-school education and training system, that is, 25 universities, 50 FET colleges and 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs),” he said.

  Unpacking the available opportunities, Nzimande said:
- There are 197 946 new entrant opportunities in universities;
- There is also 23 000 Engineering and Business studies opportunities at the many FET colleges;
- Some 44 000 National Certificate Vocational programme opportunities at FET colleges; and
- About 10 000 artisanal opportunities at FET colleges.

He also said there were 93 000 Occupationally-directed apprenticeship and learnership opportunities in collaboration with FET colleges, SETAs and employers, while there are about 12 000 additional artisanal opportunities within the retail auto sector.
SETAs also offered 16 503 leanerships through SETAs.

Nzimande said those who qualified for university entrance could choose from the 25 universities across the country.  He said the higher education system was still faced with challenges relating to space, and needed to be expanded to meet the needs of students.

He said government would focus its energies on expanding the FET sector, as it is required by the National Development Plan – the country’s framework for the economy to prosper by 2030.

“As part of government’s commitment to expanding the post-school education and training opportunities, the department is building 12 new FET campuses, which in 2014 will be able to further accommodate an additional 6500 new students. The National Development Plan requires that by 2030 at least 30 000 qualified artisans are produced per year,” he said.

Nzimande said R8.3-billion had been set aside for students wishing to further their studies and who needed financial assistance. 

“The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will fund 205 000 students at universities and 215 000 at FET colleges in 2014 by providing loans and bursaries totalling over R8.3-billion. The National Skills Fund makes further annual allocations (R497-million for 2014) aimed at funding the full cost of study towards critical skills programmes, most needed for the growth of the economy,” Minister Nzimande said.


Search for trapped Zamazamas

Johannesburg - Police said they would resume the search for more people, believed to be still trapped underground at an old gold mine shaft in the Florida area, west of Johannesburg.

On Tuesday, about 30 suspected illegal miners were rescued from a shaft at the mine. 
At least three of them sustained serious injuries during a scuffle between rival gangs underground. The men were trapped after a rope to the surface was cut.

Police spokesperson Colonel Noxolo Kweza said: “So far we have rescued 30 guys. We found the illegal miners and we took them out because they are not supposed to be there, they are there illegally. Our priority right now is to make sure that there is nobody in mine and we will keep on getting back there to check.”

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