TVET colleges are as good as universities

There are 50 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges with over 200 campuses in South Africa, each with its own focus areas and specialisation.

Yet, thousands of pupils are awaiting placements at various universities.

The issue of space, bursaries and registration dilemmas at universities every year pushes most pupils to drop out from school.

This is caused by the huge gap between public universities and TVET colleges, as most school leavers think less of these institutions of higher learning.

Vimala Ariyan, CEO of Star Schools, said these institutions aim to make accredited vocational training more accessible, especially to previously marginalised groups, because government picked up a shortfall of specialised skills in the country.

“With little information on TVET colleges, parents have shunned these institutions that offer vocational trade qualifications, as it was considered that supporting a child in a vocational trade was setting them up for an unsuccessful future,” said Ariyan.

“Hence, the reputation of TVET colleges is typically rather poor when compared to that of other educational institutions.

“This oversight is robbing young people of the opportunity to use technical education as a launch pad into their future.”

According to Ariyan, TVET colleges are not only cheap and accessible, they also help students acquire hands-on experience because TVET colleges, unlike most theory-based institutions, offer practical experience in the workplace as part of the programme.

“TVET institutions are excellent places to study and develop vocational or occupational skills such as those required in building and construction, hospitality, culinary, tourism, information technology and many more occupations that respond to our fast-changing skills demand across sectors.

“The diverse range of programmes offered by TVET colleges is practical, skilled-based and nuanced. As a result, these programmes will encourage self-learning, independence and provide learners with employment opportunities.

“One needs to consider TVET colleges as a route to secure employment or self-employment, and as a stepping stone to higher education thereafter.”

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