Universities not coping

Institutions short on space for applicants
The record 81.3% matric pass rate has presented institutions of higher learning with a dilemma as more pupils got bachelor passes.
However, universities have limited space to accommodate all of them. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega said 186 058 matrics achieved a bachelor’s pass and 144 762 got a diploma pass.
A further 78 984 received a higher certificate pass.
A survey by Sunday World of some of the country’s apex universities shows that a bachelor pass does not guarantee one a spot in university.
Wits University received 68 752 applications for first-year studies but can only admit 4 900 students. Its medical school attracted 14 000 but can only accommodate 220 students.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal received 106 270 applications but has 9 043 spaces available for first-time applicants in undergraduate academic programmes.
The University of Cape Town, which is ranked the best in the country, attracted 73 000 undergraduate applications to study in 2020 but can only enrol 4 200 first-year students.
The University of Pretoria received about 37 000 first-year applications but has space for 9 000 students.
South Africa is home to more than 20 universities and 50 technical vocational education and training colleges that collectively have more than 264 campuses.
There has also been a spike in private colleges providing students with more options to attain post-matric qualifications.
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande this week warned desperate students against illegal or “fly-by-night” colleges, saying these colleges are not registered as institutions of learning with the correct sector education and training authorities,
the department, or other relevant bodies.
He said: “These institutions lure and mislead students into believing that these colleges offer qualifications that are recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority.
“These illegal colleges offer compromised qualifications which are not recognised for employment purposes or for further studying.”
Nzimande advised students to check the registration status of such private colleges with the department through its toll-free number 0800-872-222.
Tips on verifying colleges’ status:
• Before enrolling with a private higher education institution, ask for evidence that the institution and its programmes are registered. This evidence is the certificate of registration and the registration number issued by the department.
• Before registering, make sure that the institution offers learning programmes and qualifications at the level at which you
want to qualify.
• Any claims by an institution that it is offering internationally recognised higher education programmes, while not registered to operate in South Africa, are misleading.
By Kabelo Khumalo

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