Further Education & Training Colleges (FET)


Make The Right Decision

The TVET (Technical & Vocational Education & Training Colleges) sector with its more than 50 colleges and 263 campuses nationally, is the primary site for skills-development training. Are all FET Colleges Accredited? Do the following to ensure that the course you want to enrol for, and the college you want to attend, is accredited. l If you intend to enrol for a nationally recognised qualification, request written proof from the college that the qualification is registered on the NQF. The NQF ID number should be in evidence, or check whether it is registered by going to the website for the South African Qualifications Authority – www.saqa.ov.za l Ask for evidence (this should be a certificate) that the provider is registered with the Department of Basic Education, or the Department of Higher Education and Training, to offer specific national qualifications. (continued) Also request evidence that the college is with the Department of Higher Education and Training. The college should present you with a registration number; and, l Request proof from the college that it has approval or accreditation from the relevant SETA, Umalusi or the Council for Higher Education, to offer the qualification. – colleges.co.za l There are two types of programmes that are on offer at FET colleges, namely, vocational and occupational training. l The first leads to the national certificate vocational qualification, known as the NC (V). The programmes offered in this category, are designed to equip students with the necessary skills for their future career development in the workplace. l The occupational training programmes, on the other hand, include skills programmes and learnerships offered at FET colleges. They are a sector accredited by the Setas and aim to train individuals in a specific trade, for self-employment or formal employment in the workplace. l Prospective students and their parents should take into account that programmes at FET colleges are meant not only for Grade 12 graduates, but also for all youth categorised as “neets” (not in education, employment or training). l They are included because programmes at FET ­colleges are also meant to refresh training and improve skills. l Being specific when choosing a course or programme is always advised, different FET’s offer specified courses which are designed to marry practical and theory. These vocational programmes create opportunities for thousands of Grade 12 graduates to access education and training in specific fields. The Star 25 January 2012 – Abridged.

Why the pupils can’t do the maths 

Schools’ drive to get good pass rates and lack of skilled teachers play a role

Subject selection for high school pupils getting into Further Education and Training (FET) phase, points to the route they might take in their post-school qualification.

The value that the subjects hold, in terms of the number of points they’re worth when students apply at higher education institutions, can be the difference between the student qualifying for the academic programme they want to pursue or not.

The selection process becomes problematic when pupils have to balance it against subjects they’re strong in, and therefore likely to pass to get through Grade 12.

Schools get their Grade 12 pass rate targets from the districts and provincial education departments on the marks they need to score. So when Grade 9 pupils choose their subjects, it’s common for them to be encouraged or pressured by their schools to pick subjects they’re likely to pass – and not necessarily the ones they need to pursue in the FET programmes of their choice.

Maths literacy which has been criticised as a “useless” subject, is one of the subjects pupils have been taking up either through coercion or for the sake of “passing, Children take maths literacy because they think they’ll pass (and) not necessarily because it’s easy,” said Maggie Makgoba, president of the Professional Education Union.

Another problem she added, was that most people considered the traditional academic route of enrolling with universities as the only viable option for post-school qualification.

“The academic route is not for everybody. We still need technical people like electrical engineers and technicians who can pursue their studies at FET colleges.

“Maths literacy is suitable for such people who don’t need pure maths.” Makgoba said. The problem with maths in the schooling system was the shortage of suitably qualified teachers to teach pure maths. Because of the shortage of maths teachers, maths has been demonized as a difficult subject. If you don’t have the basic skills to do pure maths, you can’t learn in high school. You need to grasp maths in the foundation phase.”

Makgoba said the issue of children being forced to take maths literacy because of low maths pass rate, was exacerbated by the fact that pupils were assessed on their attitudes only when they left  the schooling system, either in Grade 9 and 12. She said external assessments should be introduced after each phase – after Grade 3 and 6, in Grade 9 and then in Grade 12. “We only look at the pupil’s skills in Grade 12 (so) we don’t know what they know before then. The current system pushes pupils to Grade 12 (and) only after the pupils fail
do they consider going to FET colleges,” she said.

The Star 2 October 2012 – Abridged.