German-born Theoretical Physicist Albert Einstein said “The value of a college education is not learning many facts but the training of the mind to think”. Education remains as a significant resource and weapon to all South Africans despite race to achieve their ultimate goals. It is a well-known fact that graduates regardless of the institutions they obtained their qualifications, they have better chances of finding employment and thus creating a better life for themselves. The argument that I bring on the table is that the society at large should not overlook the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.
To those hopeful matriculants who passed their examinations and did not qualify or secure a place at university level, it is not the end of the road. TVET colleges are the best option. After failing to enrol at a university in 2009, I had no inspiration and motive to further my studies. I was advised to register at a college and today I am proud college graduate with a diploma qualification. I only did 18 months theoretical learning at the college and 18 months experiential learning at a workplace. This gave the opportunity to apply the knowledge I gained at college to hence my skills in the working in environment.
TVET colleges offer a variety of qualifications ranging from engineering, business administration, and hospitality studies. All this studies are crucial towards building and contributing to the country’s economic outlook through inclusive growth and radical economic transformation. Through the South African democratic government, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has established a Central Applications Clearing House, an online application service to offer assistance to matriculants who are struggling to secure a place at the educational institution of their choice.
TVET colleges are still relevant for today’s generation for them to consider advancing their studies. Government has identified the expansion of the TVET sector as a national priority in the post-school education and training system. According to the country’s National Development Plan (NDP), it stipulates that government has a mandate to increase access to education and training opportunities for the youth. The National Student Financial Assistant Scheme also plays a critical role in ensuring that deserving students have funding for their studies. This opportunities are made available for the country’s youth to be economically emancipated from poverty as well as having financial stability. For those who wish to enrol at a private college, ensure that the institution and the relevant programme offered are accredited by DHET or South African Qualification Authority.
Let’s move away from the perception and narrative that TVET Colleges are meant for those who did not achieve good results. If we embrace these TVET college as a nation, it will resuscitate confidence in the local industry and boost the country’s education system. Let’s encourage our peers, sisters, brothers, uncles, and aunts to utilise these TVET colleges to move our country forward.
Moahlodi Chris Maphori is a college graduate and works for GCIS as Senior Administrative Clerk – he writes in his personal capacity