By Nomali Cele
There is more than one way to reach success after school.
For years, the South African higher education system has been battling a problem: Most students, who leave high school with a pass mark, tend to head for universities. The problem with this approach to tertiary education is that there just isn’t enough room in our universities to accommodate all the matriculants any given year.
While it’s important that students who qualify for university and those who want to work on their results to eventually meet the entry requirements have access to these institutions and it’s important that finances – a barrier that often makes higher education an unattainable dream for most matriculating young people – are dealt with, young people know that they have other options.
Even though we constantly hear that South Africa needs more artisans and technical people, more status is placed on students enrolling into a university instead of a technical institution. A large number of university graduates fail to find employment, even with a degree in hand. Often lack of experience is cited as these student’s downfall.
Here are some of the advantages gained from enrolling in a technical institution:
A focus on technical skills tends to have a bigger payoff. People looking to work in design, hospitality and other industries requiring practical experience, are better off learning the intricacies of their industries as early as possible. This is why technical schools are so important in the ecosystem. Further Education and Training (FET) colleges allow students the opportunity to get the highest qualification in their field whilst getting training, skills and hands-on experience at the same time.
With practical experience from college, students are well-placed to gain access to their industries through apprenticeships. These apprenticeship programmes give students who are already able to function within an industry a chance to gain even more skills and boost their CVs to appeal to potential employers.
There shouldn’t be one-size fits all approach to higher education because one size doesn’t, in fact, fit all. Clear career guidance has a big role to play and should be implemented as early as grade nine.
Young people need to know their options.
Also Read: How to Avoid Tertiary Education Scams