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THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO UNIVERSITY, SAYS EXPERT

Tamika Gounden & Nokukhanya Mntambo | 22 January 2023

FILE: The matric results were released this week, with the country's matriculants achieving an 80.1% overall pass rate. Picture: Olia Danilevich/Pexels.com


Labour analyst Michael Bagraim said while prospective university students would be vying for admissions at the country's top tertiary institutions, there are alternatives such as technical colleges.


JOHANNESBURG - As pupils from the matric class of 2022 set out to further their education, labour analyst Michael Bagraim said there was a high demand for vocational skills in South Africa.


This included training in the fields of construction and electrical engineering.

The Department of Basic Education released the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results last week, with the pass rate breaching the 80% mark.


Close to 40% of those who matriculated achieved a bachelor’s pass, making them eligible to study at a university.


Bagraim said while prospective university students would be vying for admissions at the country's top tertiary institutions, there were alternatives.


"If anyone can get a practical skill in any of our technical colleges, I would highly recommend that," he said.


"Obviously, if someone has the ability to study engineering or accounting or computer science then you're going to get to the front of the queue everywhere in the world, but if I were able to be a plumber, I would be proud of myself. Our mindset has to be set to practical skills that will help the economy to turn again."


Meanwhile, tech entrepreneur Sabelo Myeni said that matriculants needed to be guided towards careers that the country needed.


The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) released the top 100 skill occupations list for the country, and Myeni said the underlying cause for the country's high youth unemployment was a lack of these critical skills.


As school leavers decide on which careers to pursue, Myeni advised them to also consider short courses to fill the gap of some of the skills lacking in the country.


He said that pupils needed to know that some of the scarce occupations on the list did not require years of studying.


“Twelve months is sufficient to be able to be a developer, to be a data scientist, to be a solid programmer, so anyone who wants to go into that field is able to do so, whether you are a matriculant or whether you already have a degree.”


Myeni said that matriculants needed to be guided towards more technological and data-based roles that the country was in deficit of.


“South Africa, as a whole, there has been a huge demand for data scientists, software developers, and artificial intelligence specialists across the industries, whether its financial, whether its technology. Even in education, there is quite a lot of demand there.


"Young people have that opportunity because these are new, these are in demand, these are what employers are looking for.”


‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.



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