DURBAN, Trade union UASA said on Friday that those looking to study after matric should not only consider university as an option.
Stanford Mazhindu, spokesperson for the union, said matric provided young adults with a broad theoretical background but did not prepare them to perform specific tasks in the workplace.
“This is one of the reasons only about 25% of school leavers are expected to find employment.”
“In South Africa and elsewhere there is a trend to only consider university studies. This is an option for matrics who received university exemption marks and who are informed about the course they want to apply for and where this course will take them in life. Others might miss the mark and become part of the estimated 40% of students dropping out of university in their first year.”
Mazhindu said the past few years had shown the ratio of young South Africans opting for university studies as opposed to those who decided on further education and training (FET) – or were willing to consider an artisanship – was distorted compared to international benchmarks.
Yet, he said, these alternatives could lead to better results in terms of employment and income potential.
“A university degree is not the be-all and end-all of further education. There is a huge shortage of artisans, like plumbers and boilermakers. Too many matriculants slight these careers in favour of a degree.
“Universities of technology offer national diplomas in a wide variety of career options and have lower entrance requirements than academic tertiary institutions.”
There are 50 FET colleges with 264 campuses country-wide offering a range of programmes from engineering, business studies, art and music, and food services for students who did not qualify for university entrance, said Mazhindu.
The FETs could help address the high levels of unemployment and provide good alternatives for university studies. Many employers also offered training via the Seta system, he said, while adding that students needed to be “practical” about their futures.
Source: African News Agency