Category Archives: Distant Learning

No Matric, No Problem!

Did you do matric in the past and never really got very good results? Did you maybe fail matric? Do you want to study further, but you think your matric certificate, or your matric fail is preventing you from further studies?

The Truth about Matric

Let me share with you some FACTS about Matric:

1.     Only 50% of students that start school ever gets to sit in a Matric class. Half of scholars leave school before they even get to the end of Matric.

2.     If you measure how many scholars passed Matric, by looking at how many should be in Matric, the failure rate for Matric is not 39.4%. The real failure rate is 79%

3.     Matric does not prepare you for any job. Employers employ people with real skills and real experience. If you have ever tried to get a job, you will know that very little of the interview is about Matric; and most of it is about your previous work experience.

4.     There are many courses you can study without first doing Matric.

So if you think you need Matric to be accepted for further studies… you are mistaken.

Some Background Figures

According to iol.co.za, “the Centre for Education Policy Development (CEPD) has shown that of the 1 550 790 pupils who entered the education system in 1998, only 551 940 made it to Grade 12 and wrote the final exam last year. This is a startling statistic that affects the official 60.6 percent pass rate’’.

“Of the 500 000 or so matrics who wrote the exam, 217 331 failed, representing a failure rate of 39.4 percent. But if the 998 850 pupils who got lost in the system during those 12 years were taken into account, the headline figures would change.”

The failure rate would double to 79 percent, the pass rate would shrink accordingly and the drop-out figure would stand at 64 percent, suggesting that it’s not six in 10 young people who are passing matric, as the Department of Basic Education’s figures show, but six in 10 young people who are getting no education at all!!! What does this say about our country’s school education system?”

FACT: nearly 8 out of 10 pupils that go to school either drop out, or, fail Matric.

So … Do you really need Grade 12?

If you want to go to a University and study for a Degree, you need to complete Grade 12. You need to pick the right subjects so that you can get a Matric with Exemption. And then you will also have to pass the University’s Entrance Exam.

If you want to study a College programme, short course or qualification, you must ask what the “entrance criteria” for that specific programme is. In some cases you need Grade 10, in some cases you need Grade 11 and in some cases you need Grade 12.

For some courses you need to have work experience, and for some you need to be over a certain age. And for some courses the requirement is that you have passed a course at NQF 3 (Grade 10) or 4 (Grade 12) level, but these do NOT have to be School Grades that you have passed!

This is all very confusing!

Yes it is! Please allow me to give you an easy way to figure out what to do next …..

Do you want to study for a Degree and go to a University?

YES – Complete your Grade 12 at school and make sure you have selected the correct subjects and that you comply with the University’s entrance criteria. Often they will require that your marks be at a certain level (for example: you must get an A for Maths). And most Universities will make you sit an entrance exam with the university, which you must pass before they will accept your applications.

NO – you have many, many options… keep reading!

 

Have you passed Grade 12?

YES – You can start most programmes that are at NQF 4 level. From this you can advance to NQF 5 level.

If you choose to do a programme that is not aligned to the NQF, you should still ask at what academic level the programme is. This will help you make sure that you will be able to master the academic content of the programme.

NO – keep reading. Next we shall show you some options open to people who do not have Grade 12.

 

Have you passed Grade 10 or 11?

YES – You can start any programme that is at NQF 3 level. From this you can advance to NQF 4 and sometimes NQF 5 level programmes. A programme at NQF level 4 is at the same academic level as Grade 12.If you choose to do a programme that is not aligned to the NQF, you should still ask at what academic level the programme is. This will help you make sure that you will be able to master the academic content of the programme. College SA has many courses that you can study if you have passed Grade 10 or Grade 11.

NO – keep reading. Next we shall show you some other options that might work for you.

 

Are you older than 23 years of age?

YES – Many training institutions will accept you on a course once you are older than 23. What you should check is that you will be able to handle the level of the language used in the course, and that you will be able to cope with the academic content of the course. If you feel unsure, it is always better to start with an NQF level 3 course and then work your way up from there.

NO – keep reading. Next we shall show you some options that might work for you.

Have you got work experience that is relevant to your studies?

YES – Most colleges will recognise your work experience. So if you have two or more years of work experience that is relevant to the area you want to study, then chances are that you will be accepted onto the programme based on your work experience.

What you should check is that you will be able to handle the level of the language used in the course, and that you will be able to cope with the academic content of the course. If you feel unsure, it is always better to start with an NQF level 3 course and then work your way up from there.

All courses have their own entrance criteria. And you will have to check the entrance criteria of any course you are interested in. For example, for some courses you need Grade 10, plus access to a Computer, and for other courses the only entrance criteria is that you must be older than 23 years of age, and able to understand the English used in the course material.

So you have many options, even if you don’t have matric?

Exactly! And to make it even easier, I shall now give you links to some of the courses at College SA, which you can do if:

  • you are older than 23, OR
  • if you have Grade 10, OR
  • if you have more than two year’s work experience

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What is different about College SA?

Choosing the right college

When you decide to study, it is very important that you do your “homework” in selecting a college that is right for you. Here is a list of the things you should consider when you select a college:

  • The reputation of the college – what does other students say about this college?
  • Accreditation – does the college have the correct registration with the Department of Education?
  • Courses offered – does the college have the course you want to do?
  • Payment plans – can you pay for your studies on a monthly basis?
  • Study material and books – must you buy your own books, or are they included in your course fees? (this can make a significant difference to the total cost of your course!)
  • Finishing early – can you study faster if you have the time available, and how does payments work if you finish early?
  • What happens when you need help?
  • What happens when things go wrong? If for some reason you can’t continue with your studies… how will the college treat you?

I shall now discuss each of these points in short and I shall also focus on the things that makes College SA stand out from the crowd.

Reputation

When you choose a college, you must do some work to find out whether they have a good reputation or a bad reputation. And an easy way to discover this is to see what their past and current students have to say about them.

An easy way to get information from current and past students about a college, is to look at their comments on HelloPeter. HelloPeter is a Customer Service website where people report good and bad service. So you can go to www.hellopeter.com, and do a search for colleges in general, or do a search for a specific college and read what good or bad things their students have to say about them!

If you want to see some comments from students on College SA, you can go to the link below on the College SA website; or you can go to HelloPeter to see what students say there.

Accreditation

As you know, accreditation is very important when selecting a college. College SA is accredited by FASSET, has been Verified by Umalusi, and is Registered with the Department of Education.

But the real question is how can you check up on the accreditation of a college yourself?

FASSET Accreditation

To confirm that a college is accredited with FASSET, you can contact the ETQA Department at FASSET as follows:

Phone: (011) 476 8570

E-mail: fassetcallcentre@fasset.org.za

Website: www.fasset.org.za

Department of Education Registration

You can contact the Director: Private FET College at the Department of Education, to confirm the Registration of a College of Training Provider. The current Director: Private FET Colleges at the Department of Education is Dr. PM Buthelezi. You can contact the Department of Education on the following details:

Call centre number: 012 312 5878

E-mail: RegistrarFET@doe.gov.za

Website: www.education.gov.za

 

Umalusi Accreditation

Please note that Umalusi does NOT accredit or register colleges. Umalusi verify the accreditation of a college (with a SETA) on behalf of the Department of Education.

SAQA Accreditation

Please note that SAQA does NOT accredit or register colleges. SAQA accredits SETAs, who then accredits colleges.

Courses

When selecting a college, you must of course check if the have the course you want to do! Click Here and go directly to the College SA profile to view a list of courses that they offer.

Payment Plans

Many colleges will allow you to pay for your studies on a monthly basis. When signing an agreement to pay your course off on a monthly basis, make sure that you read the whole agreement. You must ensure you understand the terms and conditions under which you are signing up. Often the agreement you sign is a Credit Agreement, and it might allow the college to hand you over or to have you blacklisted if you don’t pay. So make sure you understand the consequences before you sign!

Study Material

Some colleges will include all your study material in the course fee, and other colleges will send you a book list of books you must buy. Since academic study material can be expensive, it is important that you know beforehand if the course fee includes your study material or not.

Also, you need to understand how long a college will take to send you your study material. You don’t want to discover later on that the college takes very long to send you your study material!

With College SA the study material is motivational and easy to use. All study material is included in the course fee, and the college undertakes to send study material within ten to fifteen days.

What happens if I finish early?

In some case you can actually finish a course in less time that the college recommends.

College SA is the only college that allows you to stop paying for your studies as soon as you have completed your course. You can imagine the benefits if you are paying monthly and you can stop with your payments once you are finished with your course!

What happens when you need help?

If you are going to study via distance learning, you need to ask the college how they will help you if you get stuck with your studies.

At College SA all students have access to friendly and caring Tutors. This means that if you have academic questions or concerns, you have your very own Tutor to help you. You will never be stuck and on your own – our Tutors look forward to providing any assistance to our Students. Our Tutors are experts in their fields and they are there to help you with any questions.

What happens when things go (very) wrong?

Three things tend to go wrong if you study via distance learning:

1.     You need to stop studying or to take a break from your studies because something happened in your live, which prevents you from studying. This can be something like extra time that you have to spend at work, or family responsibilities that must come before your studies.

2.     You can no longer afford to study, because you got retrenched or you need to use your money for an emergency which has to be dealt with before you can continue studying.

3.     You realise that the course you are studying is not right for you, and you want to stop doing it.

College SA is the only college where you can take a break from your studies and from paying us if you need to – without any penalties. For example, if something unforeseen occurs in your life, and you are no longer able to afford your monthly College fees, you can request to take a Study Break, and during that time you won’t have to pay the College.

If you can no longer afford your studies, you can Take-a-Break, or you can arrange with the college that you pay a smaller amount every month, and then pay for more months.

If you realise you are on the wrong course for you, you should stop immediately because you are wasting your time and your money. College SA is the only college that will allow you to cancel your course and to stop paying for the course. You lose the money you paid up to that point, but you won’t have to pay the rest of the course fee. All other colleges will force you to pay the compete course fee, even if you are no longer studying.

If all else fails, you can also approach the Ombudsman to help you resolve a problem with a college. You can contact him by sending an email to Angus@fetombudsman.co.za

What next?

In our next article we will look at Matric and discuss live without it!

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Finding the right course for You

You know you should study Something

We all know that we have to study something… but deciding exactly what you should study is not that easy. Let me give you some guideline to help you figure out what course is right for you to study.

Where do I start?

To decide what you should study try the following steps:

1.     Think about Why you want to study

2.     Think about what (job) you want to do for the rest of your life, and

a.     Find out what training you need to be able to do the job you want

3.     Determine if you will be accepted on the course you want to do

4.     Make sure your friends and family will support you

5.     Go for it!

Why do you want to study?

Do you actually understand why you want to study? Most people want to study for one of the following reasons:

  • You want to get better at your job, and for that you have to learn new skills
  • You want to get a new job, and the new job requires skills and training you don’t yet have
  • Your boss have told you to study
  • You like to learn new things, and you want to learn something new and interesting
  • You want to start your own business, but you don’t feel that you have all the skills and knowledge you need to do that
  • You don’t have a job, and you need specific training which will improve your chances of getting a job

Getting better at my job

Now, if you are in a job, and you want to get better at it, or you want to improve your chances of getting promoted, you should start by asking your manager what training would help you become better at the job, or prepare you for a promotion.

Make sure that the training will be accepted as relevant and useful by your employer before you start! Of course, if your boss told you to get some training, make sure that you know exactly what training he or she has in mind… and remember to ask whether the company will pay for your training!

Getting a new job

If you want to train so that you can get a new job, make sure you understand what training is required by the new job… before you start with a course! If you are aiming at a job in another country, make sure you know what the requirements are in that country. Sometimes another country will accept your qualifications, and sometimes they will not. And the only way to be sure, is to get the correct information from that country, and from the new employer.

Learning interesting new things

If you have a hobby or an interest and you want to learn more about it, then studying is a very good way to increase you knowledge and understanding. Sometimes people study something they would like to do as a hobby, and then it turns into a job! There is nothing better than making your living out of something you enjoy. A good example of this is studying Interior Decorating. You might study it to decorate your own home, but at the same time, your friends will soon be asking you to help them decorate their homes… and soon you are running a decorating business.

Starting your own business

Running your own business is not easy. You need to do all the things that are done by many different people in bigger businesses. You must do advertising, marketing, finance, bookkeeping, stock management and much more! So if you are looking for a course to help prepare you for running your own business, think about what skills you will need and make sure the course will help you learn those skills.

Getting your first job

Getting your first job in South Africa is not easy. We have many unemployed people, so you must be determined and committed in finding a job. Of course a qualification will help you get that interview, but it is up to you to get the job! For your first job you should consider basic business skills that any employer will find useful. These would be things like typing, using software like MS Office, Excel, Word and Outlook and project management.

You can also get help with writing a professional CV from people like www.unidas.co.za. They also give good advice on how to prepare for your interview, and even where to look for employment.

Other reasons to study?

There are many, many reasons why people study. The better you understand why you want to study, the better decision you will make in selecting what course to study. Take the time to really think about where you want to be in future, and make sure that any training you do today, helps you get to where you want to be tomorrow.

Get some help! Do a Career Test

If you need some help in deciding what direction your career should take, you could also take a career test. Career tests use a set of questions to determine what your interests are; and then they can recommend the kind of job you should consider. Career tests are often quite expensive, but there are some free tests available.

Currently you can do a career test free of charge.

 

What Job do you want to do for the rest of your life?

If you know what job you want to do for the rest of your life, it is easy to make sure all your training and studying is in line with your career plan. If you are not sure what you want to do with the rest of your life, you should really make the time to think about what job you are really passionate about. Taking a career test can help you with this. You should also talk to family, friends and co-workers. You deserve to do a job which you are interested in, and which you enjoy.

Will I be accepted on the course I want to study?

Once you are sure you know what course you want to study, you must find out what the entrance criteria are. This means you find out what qualification is needed before you can start the course you want to do.

Many courses, especially University courses, require that you must first pass grade 12. Also, you might need specific results and subjects at grade 12 level, to be accepted onto university courses.

You can also choose FET courses, where you don’t need grade 12 to start the course. Many FET courses have entrance criteria of Grade 9 or Grade 10.

Some training institutions will also consider your age and your work experience when you apply. Sometimes, if you don’t have grade 12, but you are older than 23, the institution will still accept you.

Support from friends and family

It is much easier to study if your friends and family support you. So take the time to explain to them why you are going to study, and how it will also help them. Then get a commitment from them that they will allow you the space and time to study. They must promise not to disturb you when it is your study time!

What next?

In the next article we shall look specifically at College SA, and discuss what makes them different from other distance learning colleges.

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Why Choose Distance Education or Home Study?

What is Distance Education?

Distance Education or Home Study means that you study at home or at work. You do not have to attend classes, and you do not have to take time off from work to study. Your study material is sent to you via the post office or with a courier. And you get help from a tutor who contacts you over the phone, with email, SMS or with a fax.

So you study at home, do your assignments at home, and then send them in so that your tutor at the college can mark it. You tutor also gives you positive feedback and help with your studies.

In this way Home Study is a positive step toward getting that promotion, finding a more rewarding career and achieving a better life.

Why do people choose Home Study?

With Home Study you don’t have to attend classes and you don’t have to give up your job. So with Home Study you can study as fast or as slow as you want. You don’t compete with other students and you can study in the safety of your own home. Some of our students find that they actually do better when they are not distracted by travelling, classes and other students!

Home Study is also often less expensive than going to a full-time college.

How does Home Study work?

When studying by means of Distance Learning, you can expect the following steps:

1.     Select the course you want to study
2.     Register and pay for the course
3.     Get your first pack of study materials and your student card from the College
4.     Get a call from the College to help you get started
5.     Study the first module and do an assignment at the end of that module
6.     Send in your assignment to the College – the college then marks it, an gives you feedback
7.     Work with your tutor on problems you have in your assignments or studies
8.     Study further modules and do further assignments, and work with your tutor, until all the modules are completed
9.     Write an exam (if the course is exam based), or pass all your assignments (if the course is assignment based)
10.  Get your Award on completion of the course! Usually a Certificate or Diploma

What can you expect from your Home Study course and college?

A good home study or distance education course should have the following elements:

1.     Study material sent on time

Often distance learning colleges send study material for one subject at a time. This is to make sure that when you get your study material, it is up to date. It is also to protect the college when you pay monthly, so that the college do not have to take the risk of sending you expensive study material when you have not paid for the whole course yet.

Study material should be sent quickly and easily. You should not wait a long time for study material.

Make sure that you ask if all your study material is included in your course fee, or whether you will have to buy extra study material or books.

2.     Orientation and motivation for adult learners

The course should help you “get back into studying”. A good distance education course takes into account that you might not have studied for a long time, and that you need help getting back into it.

3.     Easy payment plans

The college should allow you to pay monthly if you cannot afford to pay the whole course when you start. You should also ask about the cancellation policy – a good college will have an easy cancellation policy for students who want to cancel a course. You should not be forced to pay for a whole course if you cannot finish the whole course. Make sure that you know what will happen if you can no longer study, or if you can no longer pay… will the college help you, or will they black-list you?

Some colleges will allow you to take a study break, and to also stop paying your course while you are on the study break.

4.     Regular contact

The college should contact you regularly to help you move along! And it should be easy to contact the college if you need help. Often you would get newsletters, SMSes, emails and telephone calls from the college.

What next?

In our next article, we shall give some help and pointers on finding the right course for you.

Jan Badenhorst

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