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Matrics looking to further their education should not focus on universities only

UASA congratulates the 2017 matric class on their excellent result. Well done to all!

For those looking to further their education, now is the time to focus. For these pupils a new world is opening up; one that may prove to be full of stumbling blocks for those that are unprepared.

Matric provides young adults with a broad theoretical background and does not prepare them to perform specific tasks in the workplace. This is one of the reasons only about 25% of school leavers are expected to find employment.

In South Africa and elsewhere there is a trend to only consider university studies. This is an option for matrics who received university exemption marks and who are informed about the course they want to apply for and where this course will take them in life. Others might miss the mark and become part of the estimated 40% of students dropping out of university in their first year.

The Department of Higher Education released a report in 2015 highlighting that 47,9% of university students did not complete their degrees. Black students had the highest dropout rate, with 32,1% leaving in their first year.

Every year tertiary institutions battle with too many applicants and insufficient space.

The past few years have shown the ratio of young South Africans opting for university studies as opposed to those who decide on further education and training (FET) or are willing to consider an artisanship is distorted compared to international benchmarks. Yet these alternatives can lead to better results in terms of employment and income potential.

A university degree is not the be-all and en-all of further education. There is a huge shortage of artisans, like plumbers and boilermakers. Too many matriculants slight these careers in favour of a degree.

Universities of technology offer national diplomas in a wide variety of career options and have lower entrance requirements than academic tertiary institutions.

In addition there are 50 FET colleges with 264 campuses country-wide offering a range of programmes from engineering, business studies, art and music, and food services for students who did not qualify for university entrance.

FETs can help address the high levels of unemployment and provide a good alternatives for university studies. Many employers also offer training via the Seta system.

Students need to be practical about their future. If you qualify for and can afford tertiary academic institutions, and know where your degree will take you, go for it. If not, pursue other options like those discussed above or consider part-time study. Whatever the choice or opportunity, for those prepared to work hard there is a future.

UASA wishes South Africa’s matriculants all the best for their future. You are also South Africa’s future and your welfare and success will impact on the country as a whole.

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact Andre Venter at 083 251 3274.