Post-school Education & Training – including TVET

Not one – but many levels of NSC – what do they mean for post-school education access?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Cedric February 2 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #33700

    sylvia hammond

    Following the announcement of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results media reports have concentrated on what the pass rate percentages mean – whether they are accurate and generally questioning statistical validity.  But for the learners and their families they need guidance on how to proceed further.

    Contrary to much criticism implying that failure to access a university is the end of the world, there are many different post-school routes to proceed – depending on the level of NSC achieved – or indeed, also if not achieved – there are still progress routes.

    First, what is the level of NSC achieved?  Not just a simple 30% as some media reports have suggested. Please see attached full explanation of the duration, assessment methods and rules of combination. 

    In summary, to obtain an NSC the learner must:

    • Complete grades 10, 11 and 12 and meet associated assessment standards
    • Comply with internal and external assessment requirements.

    To achieve the NSC minimum requirements are to:

    • achieve 40% in 3 subjects (one an official language) and
    • achieve 30% in 3 subjects and
    • provide evidence of school based assessment of subjects failed.

    Then once the NSC is achieved, to proceed to higher education, this is where the different levels of NSC come in and there are different minimum levels to access the different institutions:

    • For a Bachelor degree – 50-59% or better in 4 subjects (see designated subject list in attachment), and 30% in the language of the institution offering the degree.
    • For a Diploma course – 40-49% or better in subjects (see designated subject list), and 30% in the language of the institution offering the diploma course.
    • For a Higher Certificate course – 30% in the language of the institution offering the Higher Certificate course – and depending on the HC course specific subjects or combinations may be required.

    The Department of Higher Education (DHET) is responsible for the post-school education landscape.  In addition to the universities and FET colleges, there are also SETAs (Sector Education and Training Authorities who are organising Learnerships. These Learnerships range mostly from an NQF level 1 (grade 9) to NQF level 4 (grade 12) and so may be suitable for those for have not achieved an NSC.  But there are also Learnerships at NQF levels 5 and 6.   The SETAs will be advertising these programmes in the media and also on their websites. 

    (Please see attached DHET document Annexure B for the full listing of available Learnership openings.)

    There are also numerous routes to an apprenticeship:

    • the first option is for those who have achieved 50% or more in Mathematics,
    • an alternative for those who don’t have the Maths but did achieve an NSC, is to apply for a bridging course, which will provide the Maths, as well as other technical subjects.  For full details on the course and how and where to apply – see the attached DHET document.

    Finance is always a problem and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is able to provide loan and bursary financing for students – in total over R8.3 billion is available.  For further advice on how to obtain finance – or career advice – or advice on how to register please see attached DHET for full details.

    The conclusion is that there are multiple post-school routes – depending on the level of NSC achieved – or not achieved: there are two new universities, many FET college courses, SETA Learnership and artisan programmes available, and there is loan and bursary funding available.



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  • #33715

    Des Squire

    Thank you Sylvia for clarifying and putting such a positive slant on the whole issue. 20 years into democracy it’s time we as South Africans started changing our negative approach to everything and started building on the positives.

    “What you see depends on what you look for. You can enjoy the positives or seek out the negatives. Its a personal choice” Have a great 2014 everyone. 

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  • #33714

    sylvia hammond

    Thanks Des – recently I was sent a copy of Die Burger article by Jonathan Jansen (for whom I have great respect) in which he promotes university education, and also the Solidarity research indicating that those with university qualifications earn more than others.  

    Both of these articles are just one side of the story – Harvard Business Review have a counter argument on this link:

    The Degree is Doomed – which indicates how irrelevant a paper degree is and how the future is far more immediate and about the ability to demonstrate applied skill.

    Also to be a true comparison the Solidarity research would have to look at all those without university qualifications who have crafts and skills (like plumbers and electricians) who have started their own businesses – their research only compares those who are formally employed – that is not the whole post-school world of education and work. 

    There are other routes to earning a living and in my view the DHET Minister is doing an excellent job of making accessible all the different routes more suitable to different intellectual abilities.       

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  • #33713

    Cindy Payle

    Hi Sylvia

    Not only are there other ways to earning a living there are also other ways of living – that have nothing to do with the westernized idea of life which is go to school, go to university, get married, buy a house, have kids, retire. I think we need to help kids not only look at education and employment differently, but to look at life differently. So many kids who have failed their matric or cannot go to university are left to feel like second class citizens when this is so far from the truth. Every person has the potential to do great things and just because greatness cannot always be measured in a classroom doesnt change this fact. I think we need to move away from teaching kids what to do to make money or find a job and rather inspire them to create and contribute to society.

    I know this isnt exactly what you were talking about but i spend alot of time with young people and it hurts me to see so much incredible talent being wasted in this country.

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  • #33712

    sylvia hammond

    Hi Cindy, thanks for bringing that up.  I agree with you absolutely.  There are so many people who have been incredibly successful in life but were failures at school – or left early.  Many of the internet start-ups for example. 

    Children who think differently generally do not fit in well with the school system because it is still so much about learn and repeat.  And unfortunately so many South Africans have been educated to think that there is one right answer to everything.

    The pace of change is so fast now and we don’t yet know or cannot envisage what the impacts will be, for example what impact will 3-D printing make on traditional manufacturing?

    Also the Western financial model is to value the acquisition of money and “things” – compared to a more holistic living within the environment and valuing the contribution to community. 

    So I agree with you and I don’t think it’s off the point – children who’ve failed matric are quite capable of living valuable lives contributing to society.

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  • #33711

    Cindy Payle

    Exactly Sylvia – you’ve hit the nail on the head with your observation about the materialistic western way of thinking. sadly it seems that our schools and social systems re-enforce this ideology, which makes me wonder if the problem with the current schooling system has less to do with a pass rate, teaching methods,  or number of textbooks and more with a lack of values and principles that underpin the truth – that people are our most valuable assets.

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  • #33710

    Tebogo Boroto

    Good afternoon all

    Very interesting topic indeed and thought provoking. I think we once touched on this subject last year and it was mentioned then that; the problem is that most of us parents are exposed to one way of doing things. Therefore we impose that on our children; formal classroom learning period.

    It is about time now that parents go out there and research what is available for their kids apart from what they know; as it might not be producing the right results for a specific or particular kid in the family.




    Those are the points that I have picked from all three of you and are very important to us if we are to make headway in our families, communities and country.

    The status quo must change. University route only is advocated by those who want to hold onto Class-living. That way we can categorise one another by way of asking: “How far have you studied?” “Are you still studying further?”

    We are going to deny people from having the statistics that so far we have only 20 people of colour who are professors, and that gives you class, in its own.

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  • #33709

    Cindy Payle

    Wow Tebogo, i love the way you’ve summed things up. I wish that every young person and parent could read these words and realize that the opportunities available to our young people are not only tied to an academic institution or office job. 

    I can’t agree with you more about the way we categorize one another and the matric certificate is just another yardstick. I know young people who have learning disabilities and will have to carry the stigma of that disability for life. they unfortunately will never measure up to the “ideal”.

    yes the status quo must change!

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  • #33708

    sylvia hammond

    Here is a further report from IOL on Minister Nzimande’s briefing – and the intention to introduce “Community Colleges” – the White Paper covering the future post-school landscape is expected in the near future.

    Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, which have been heavily criticised for their poor returns, were “where the future of this country lies”, Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande said yesterday.

    Briefing journalists, Nzimande said the department would run international benchmark tests for students studying at these colleges, review whether pupils with a Grade 9 pass should be admitted and look into differentiating the career paths of students according to their level of education.

    He said the government would throw R2.1 billion into the system to fund the studies of 215 000 students this year.

    In comparison the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, whose bursaries are earmarked for university students, has R8.3bn to fund 205 000 students.

    Nzimande said one of the biggest challenges facing training colleges was the fact that they had students with four different education levels in one class – Grade 9, 10, 11 and 12.

    Now his department wants to review whether these colleges are the correct route for pupils with only a Grade 9 pass. “We have to look into that… in relation to the purpose of the FET colleges and also in the light of the plans we have for community colleges,” he said.”

    For the full report:

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  • #33707

    Des Squire

    I wrote an article back in 2012 indicating my thoughts on a need to change our outlook on education and how there was a place for the FET colleges etc. I have attached if anyone wishes to refer back.

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  • #33706

    Tebogo Boroto

    Hi Des

    That is a wow paper unfortunately that is raised in a forum like ours. If the powers that be were visiting these forums and maybe commenting to indicate that we do not have to respond only when there is a proposal or invitation for comments on a draft.

    On encouraging companies, I was impressed by an initiative driven by Ekurhuleni where they are inviting companies to avail of their services to youth from the municipality and Ekurhuleni will bankroll the whole thing.

    “Isn’t that something worth mentioning?” 

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  • #33705

    Are we talking about talent or potential? I find most of these debates meaningless, in that we have certain perceptions (a life philosophy) that drives individuals.

    There are many people who work with the youth and obviously echo your sentiments. We live in an imperfect world, with loads of garbage being thrown around. When learners are invited to participate in e.g, essay-type competitions, they abuse the expertise of other people. It is plagiarism at its worst, so is that individual talented? Absolutely not, as plagiarism refers to the Act on Intellectual Propery (should it be Theft of Intellectual Property). Point: that youngster is now put into a position where (s)he bandies statements around which are accepted on face value, when in the 1st instance, the “theft” issue should have been addressed. So, who failed that individual. Society is no in no position to help itself, as it is driven by greed, ambition and power. We have now become a bunch of self-centred egotistical maniacs, and we expect to be admired by others.

    I, personally, will only respect the human being for the fact that they are human, but not for their fleshly atrributes (characteristics) which I have noted above. Unfortunately for a lot of people, their value system is so sickening, so much so for instance, that some 95% of us confuse simple concepts like churchianity and spirituality (we view it as being synonymous)!!

    We are exposed ot the media which encourages the most abhorrent attributes (egoism, materialism, etc.) and we self-destruct. 99,9% of the the global population confuses success, as we see it in relation to the viewpoints of other fallibale human beings. Where does God feature in this debate, not forgetting we have atheists, agnostics, hypcrites, etc. in society.

    As long as education has a political agenda, 78,2% will be regarded by me as an utter, total, complete and absolute non-indicator.  

    Now that “faili-once-in-a-phase” has been introduced, we will finally see that education is also based on the principle of mass production.

    As for being positive or negative, I could not care for the life of me: I do not have a choice – it’s about realism. Positive can mean “plastering over the cracks”. I personally love Jonathan Jansen’s profound opinions, as it is contrary to the norm, and I actually believe 95% of what the says.


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  • #33704

    FET colleges will always be a waste of time. We are so desperate to keep individuals at educational institutions, that courses are tailor-made to accomodate their work-ethic. The authorities have no idea of what the entrance requirements should be, and so it implies that whenever they say something, they engage in rhetorical crap. Plastering over the cracks won’t help anybody.

    I have lectured at FET colleges, and these learners are so pathetic in most respects, that I have concluded that these type of institutions engage in mass-production, as does the so-called night schools. The laziness at night school is a sight to behold, as it explains the values of parents. Obviously, they have an excuse for NOT doing what they are supposed to! How tragic.

    Allowing basically anybody to study at a FET college is an absolute waste of taxpayers money, as it is absolutely clear that in their finite wisdom and obstinate stupidity, the educational authorities are clutching a the straws.

    As a nation, education is in dire staits, so 78,2% do not fool me. The matric of 2103 is of far less value than a standard 8 certificate of 1990. What we have now is the supreme example of gutter education.

    As for your explanantion of it not being 30% according to media reports: the degree of difficulty of those papers will always be a joke, and so it’s poroably true that it is less than 30%. Let me explain:

    Learners are supposed to hand in assignments/research projects in on the due date, however it is a general phenomenon for them to hand it in September/October, thereby they have  more time to submit a better “assignment” than those who handed it in on time. Marks are thus distorted, and that’s a fact. It devalues the “worthiness” of a matric pass. As an educator, I should know what I am talking about. Internally, Christmas comes very early for a lot of learners, e.g.examination papers out of 240 have a 3 hour duration.

    Problem is: when one does not know the nitty-gritty of what’s going on, refrain from representing a “sound” opinion. Life Orientation is a prime example of the utter rubbish beibg dished up: educators who cannot run or “do” a sport code to save themselves, give inflated (internal) marks to learners, not having a clue as to how to judge what the true reflection is. Do not, do not, do not tell I am busy with wishful thinking.

    There are so many malpractices, especially in township schools, which are absolutely abhorrent.

    To summarise: Education is based on Lies. Period. It has no credibility in my eyes. The government can eat its heart out.

    Do I have a solution for the current education crisis: NO. There are numerous (maybe 100’s) of macro environmental factors impacting on education and it subsequent disaster.

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