Tag Archives: higher education

Matric students lack the skills and competencies for university

A recent study has shown that high school matric results are generally a poor indicator of 1st year university performance. In order to improve upon the performance of university students would require that the Department of Basic Education equip high school students with the required skills and competencies as outlined in the department’s policy documents. Students entering university are ill-equipped and do not possess these basic skills and competencies to succeed at university.

Michèle Stears and Angela James from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s undertook the study to identify whether or not Grade 12 life science results were any indication of their competence at first-year in relation to their knowledge and skills levels. They concluded that poor performance amongst students was not a new phenomena amongst university students in South Africa.

The study did indicate that scholars competency level in certain sub jest was poor and lower than the required level as stated in Department of Basic Education policy documents.

According o the study the lack of competencies in certain areas and skills along with failure at a university is having a debilitating effect on students live and their levels of self confidence. Student complete high school and enter tertiary institutions with high hopes and expectations only to be confronted by the reality that they did not possess the skills or competencies to succeed at university.

In the study, Michèle Stears and Angela James recommended that in order to improve on students 1st year performance results would take a two pronged approach. Firstly, high school students should be  equipped by the schools with required skills and competencies prior to graduating. Secondly, higher education institutions should assist by creating an environment that enables high school students a far better and smoother transition into higher education.

The study did take into account the  degree of transformation that has been achieved since 1994 within the education system. Matric results are one indicator to display how the South African education system has transformed and improved since the demise of apartheid.

Students that completed high school in 2010 were the first set of students who completed school based on Curriculum 2005 (one of many changes to post-apartheid school curriculum reforms). There was enormous reservation and uncertainty about the skills and competencies of scholars under an outcomes-based education orientated system.

In order to arrive at their results and conclusions, the study compared results of 1st year life sciences students in 2011 and compared these to students who registered in 2009 and 2010. Stears and James said; “learners achieving 80% to 100% in their biology school-leaving examination had the skills to suggest specific changes to experimental design and provide conclusions showing awareness of data uncertainty, and could analyse problems and provide solutions as well as evaluate the relevance of biotechnological applications to life sciences.”

From the study, student showed evidence that they could also come to the conclusion and critically evaluate the application of scientific and indigenous knowledge locally in South Africa and globally. Students  could also develop justifiable and responsible positions on the influences of different beliefs, attitudes and values in various communities, as well as evaluate and give recommendations on the impact of scientific and technological processes and products on different communities.

For those students that achieved a 60% to 79% had the ability to  “analyse, reflect on and evaluate findings of an investigation and identify and allow for irregular observations when displaying data, debate and show how concepts, principles, laws, theories and models influenced one’s behaviour, analyse the application of scientific and indigenous knowledge in the South African context and debate the influence of beliefs, attitudes and values among communities.”

Results of students who enrolled for life sciences in 2008, only 36% were able to achieve a grade higher than 70% for biology in matric. In 2009 this same figure  rose to 43% while in 2010 it went up to 53%.

The study also showed that only 21% of student in the 2011 class could link biology to the environment. When these stunted were asked to observe the environment, only 18% were able to observe green plants, 61% were not able to observe the object biology, while 54% of the students could not make a link between what they were observing and the relevance of the course they and taken.

The study states that only 10% of the class of 2008 failed the biology module. This figure dropped to 5% in 2009, however increased to 12% for student of 2010 class. This gave more clout for those people and groups who have been arguing and stating that matric results in 2010 were manipulated by the Department of Basic Education.

Source: University World News


Tertiary institutions prepared and ready for 2013 academic year

Department of Higher Education 14


With all the admission and registration processes efficiently underway at tertiary institutions, it’s all systems go for the 2013 academic year throughout the country.

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has stated that the department is ready for the new academic year. Admission processes are all proceeding well at all tertiary institutions and the department is in close contact with all institutions to make certain that they manage all challenges that typically erupt during this period of the year.

This academic year there are approximately 183 893 places available at universities for students coming into the system for the very first time. Further Education and Training (FET) colleges will provide 100 000 spaces for new applicants. The Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) are offering 18 000 learneship opportunities.

“The number of spaces that are still available will only be [known] when the institutions complete registration. As the department, we have established a dedicated unit which works closely with universities in trying to resolve challenges as they arise,” stated Minister Dr Blade Nzimande.

Together with the department of education, all universities have dedicated teams who are able to function as a first port of call for the department should any issues come up. These teams will furnish the department continuously reports and feedback on developments as they unfold at institutions. The department has additionally started compiling weekly updates providing feedback on the state of every institution’s registration process.


Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande
Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande


Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana will be visiting various institutions and providing support where and if necessary. The deputy minister, will additionally, monitor the registration situation throughout the country by communicating with universities and the public via the media.

Nzimande has made an earnest appeal to all employers to create employment opportunities for FET graduates, where they are able to acquire practical work experience for 18 months. “We have 11 000 FET graduates which were produced between 2009 and 2011, who require placement… Our goal is to ensure that all FET graduates get work places,” he was quoted saying.

SETA offices have also been set up at all FET colleges to help and assists students with learnership opportunities that are avaliable for 2013. Last year, the Wholesale and Retail Sector Education and Training Authority provided R27 miilion worth of bursaries to students in FET colleges. The SETAs are working closely with public FETs and several universities to finance skills development programmes of various types. Nzimande at the same time proposed that universities need to work closely with FETs and provide students who have completed a year at a FET college, and wish to proceed to university, the chance to have their course work credited; and additionally universities need to inform and assist FETs should they discover that their training is not up to the required standard.

The department of education intends to grow even more the FET college sector over the forthcoming 20 years to make certain that there exists a college in each and every education district.

Source: SAnews.gov.za


South African cost of higher education on the rise

College fund1


Recently available studies clearly show proof of the fact that the cost of higher education is on the rise in South Africa escalating on average somewhere between 8 and 12 percent. Based on research the most costly courses to study in South Africa include accounting, engineering, medicine, nursing and fine art.

The escalating cost of education comes during a period when local institutions are experiencing rising operating costs, shrinking state subsidies, together with an exploding student debt problem running into hundreds of millions.

The increasing costs of electricity, municipal and insurance costs has triggered fees at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to rise an average of 7 percent. Amongst other variables placing pressure on educational institution’s budget include things like fuel for student shuttle services, audit charges as well as the maintenance of infrastructure and information technology services.

Bad debts for 2011 at Durban University of Technology currently stands at R38.6m while students at the moment owe the university more than R166.8 million in late fees.

The more popular courses will cost new students anywhere between R19 000 and R30 000 for first-year tuition. The more expensive courses include journalism (R24 160), emergency medical services (R19 080), nursing (R29 990) and human resources (R24 810).

New students receive a break and do not have to pay the registration fee however they are required to pay their first fee installment upon registration – (R1 980 for semester students and R3 220 for annual students). For all those students who opt to reside at local residence will have to deal with a further cost averaging between R16 200 to R19 700 annually.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal, is also planning to implement an increase in tuition fees (12%) and accommodation fees (9%) in part is a result of annual inflation. To study architecture in 2012 cost R27 100, social work R26 680, law R23 200 and education R21 510. On campus accommodation costs ranged anywhere between R9 662 to R10 000 a semester. UKZN students do not pay any extra fees upon registration however they need to pay a deposit towards the total cost of their studies and accommodation costs.

The Mangosuthu University of Technology is following the same pattern with a 9% increase in fees.

On average, the University of the Witwatersrand will increase it fees for the upcoming year by roughly 8 percent. The primary reason behind the most recent fee increases a consequence of declining government funding to rising printing costs. The university is hoping to boost third stream income to alleviate the increasing student fees.

Third-stream income is comprised of earnings from research, donations, and investments. Others costs increases were a result of the weaker local currency and necessity to purchase textbooks and specialized equipment from abroad. The cost of books, electronic journals, running laboratories, electricity as well as maintenance outstripped inflation.

An engineering degree in 2012 cost R30 630, education R20 810, accounting R33 296, while medicine price tag was R43 520. Accommodation costs at Wits varied based on the individual residence, the number of people sharing, and whether or not meals were provided. Accommodation costs ranged between R18 000 per student sharing (excluding meals) to R37 700 for students preferring their own room with 19 full meals a week.

First-year tuition costs at the University of Cape Town in 2013 for degree programmes ranged from R39 500 to R51 000 for ambitious accountants, R44 000 to R46 000 for engineers and R42 500 for fine arts students.


Is College Education Really worth the Expense?



Given the fact that college educational costs are dramatically escalating, an increasing number of students are wondering whether or not it is worth choosing to continue with a higher education. The truth is, a college degree continues to be an intelligent investment decision.


Greater Earning Opportunity


It is a known fact that for every dollar an individual spends on college or higher education, will definitely enjoy the benefits of a far higher income return over their lifetime. Ask any investment broker or advisor and they will all agree the fact that the cost benefit analysis is a positive one. In a similar fashion, individuals with a bachelor’s degree generate, on average, 1.6 time more income over a lifetime compared to those with simply a high school diploma. Given the competitive world and current job market, the average earnings of individuals with only a high school diploma is falling. Given this reality, you simply cannot afford not to continue your education a pursue a college or other higher education degree.


Superior Employment Prospects and Rewards


College or university graduates are certainly not just more prosperous – they possess a more expansive selection of careers from which to choose.

The sheer number of work opportunities that necessitate a college degree is growing. On top of that, a number of employment opportunities demand a specialized college degree. The fact remains that employers basically value college graduates higher simply because they possess the skills and knowledge base that high school graduates do not have.

Aside from that, the whole process of enrolled in college generally exposes students to subject matter and areas they otherwise would not have taken into consideration as a consequence opening avenues for rewarding and fulfilling careers.

Acquiring a college degree is an advantage, no matter what major you ultimately choose or industry you intend to enter. And in many cases, should you seek out a job which does not necessarily require a college degree, your training will most likely net you far better pay and benefits when compared with a person with a lower educational background.

As a final point, careers available to college graduates tend to be more prestigious, offer higher salaries, and provide excellent benefits along the lines of health insurance, life insurance, and retirement benefits. These types of benefits are essential to accomplish financial security and stability, particularly if you have a family.


Significantly better Quality of Life


Many studies have revealed that college or university graduates, without a doubt, benefit from a significantly better health and quality of life, and as a consequence, pass these positive aspects onto their children.

As opposed to individuals with merely a high school education, college graduates have longer life spans, superior diet and health, significantly better access to healthcare, superior economic stability and security, far more prestigious job opportunities, considerably better job satisfaction, far more self-confidence, a great deal more savings, and a lot more time for hobbies and leisure activities. College at the same time has a tendency to produce individuals who are more rational, open-minded, consistent, and cultured.

Aside from that, the offspring of college graduates reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle, perform considerably better in school, and are generally more likely to attend college, when compared to the children of high school graduates.

Last but not least, we simply cannot overlook the fact that college can – and ought to be – fun! Enrolled in college offers incredible opportunities to come in contact with new people, acquire new skills, and enable you to discover your own personal areas of interest.

College can also be a terrific environment in which to grow personally, culturally, as well as intellectually. College students, more often than not, also have the chance to study abroad or perhaps to take part in other exciting learning experiences. Aside from that, the college environment encourages students to discover academic disciplines, join student organizations, interact with professors, share ideas within a safe environment, and deal with challenging problems. All of these prepare students to be productive citizens.




Are you currently pondering just how you are going to afford college? Perhaps you should be asking yourself if you can afford not to go, given every one of the benefits associated with a college education.

With the help of grants, scholarships, and financial aid available, college is accessible to just about anyone. And given today’s technology and internet, distance learning or online degrees can be earned whilst working full-time.


Benefits Associated with a Higher Education Learning Environment

It’s well known the fact that continuing higher education can certainly help educate oneself to acquire the distinct skills you will require for your chosen profession. At the same time higher education will also help you in numerous unforeseen ways. Learning in a higher education institution and atmosphere enables students to start preparing for the real life in many different ways.


Leadership Skills

The leadership skills you will employ in the future could very well be uncovered in the classroom today. Take control the moment team projects are delivered in class. Become a member of a group and work your way up the chain of leadership, or alternatively create a group of your own which does not exist at this point. Take this chance to grow your leadership skills and competencies so that you can implement the skills acquired once you are part of the labour force in the future.


Organizational Skills

Keeping up with classes, exams, studying, social activities, family in addition to a job quite a bit of effort and work. To be able to keep everything from slipping through the cracks, students really need to acquire and cultivate time management skills. Additionally, you’ll want to get acquainted with deadlines along with the repercussions that come in the event that you do not meet those deadlines.


Dealing with Life Outside of your Comfort Zone

Attending a higher education institution could possibly be the ideal option when it comes to dealing with issues you would never get the chance to in any other case. For example, for anyone who is shy, take a risk and express yourself in classroom. Give some thought to taking a class that is of interest to you but has absolutely nothing to do with your major. Become a member of a group or club that you may have always been enthusiastic about but never done anything about. You have the chance to explore outside the box, and you ought to take it.


Developing and Growing your Network

When you attend a higher education learning institution, there is a strong possibility that you will meet and interact with a number of very intelligent, successful individuals. Whether or not they are successful now or will be in the longer term, it is a wise decision to establish a connection with these people and bring them into your social network. Down the road, these people will be the individuals who mentor you, coach you, and assist you in finding success.


Team Building Skills

In a number of ways, the classroom to a large degree is similar to an office in the workplace. You work with the exact same people every day. You are all aiming to be the best, however , things are usually less complicated and a lot more efficient whenever you function as a team. The classroom environment is the ideal place to assist you to realise how to work with your colleagues as well as cultivate a team environment to ensure that every person gets a an opportunity to succeed.