FETs not appealing to varsity hopefuls

2012-01-12 10:00

Students who were waiting outside the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Bunting Road campus gate even after late registration was suspended because of a stampede on Tuesday, were not keen to pursue studies at FET colleges.

Following the incident, Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande urged students who were not able to get into university to consider Further Education and Training (FET) colleges.

Nzimande said there were 50 000 places still available at colleges spread around the country. The department has set aside R1 billion in bursaries.

However, prospective students who were sitting outside the gate yesterday afternoon said FET colleges were not the way to go.

Palesa Nkosi (19), who had applied to UJ but did not get a response, said she was not interested in furthering her studies at an FET college because she was not interested in them and did not know of anyone who succeeded in an FET college.

“It is hard to get a job with a FET qualification. Jobs out there require degree qualifications and I do not understand how those N things work. People say that they are like Grade 10, 11 and 12, so it’s like going to high school, but some people drop out before even reaching N4,” she said.

Nkosi said the money that was invested in the FET bursaries should be channelled into streams that she said had good pass rates, such as law and commerce.

“They are investing large amounts of money in maths, science and engineering without getting a good return because people are failing those subjects. They should invest more in the law and commerce streams,” Nkosi added.

Ernest Mamba (18), who said he had applied to UJ but did not get a response from the institution, said he knew of people who did well through the FET system and knew that it produced the necessary skills that are needed in industry, but said he would not undertake that route because it was “not his style”.

“FET colleges are only suited for those who are looking for temporary jobs. The courses they offer are not suited for long-term careers. Even if a bursary would come along, I would not consider it. I’d rather go to a University of Technology,” Mamba said.

Dineo Molefe (19), who wanted to apply during the late registration round but couldn’t get in before registration was suspended, said FET colleges did not do much to advertise themselves to the public and most of them were usually mired in controversy. She said qualifications from FET colleges were dodgy and did not guarantee jobs.

“We were told about FET colleges at school but the response from the other learners was not very positive. I think that stemmed from the way teachers talked about them. They made them sound like they were places for technikon rejects and those who did not get good grades in matric,” she said.

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