While South Africa’s matric class of 2013 achieved the highest pass rate in 20 years, universities have warned that applications have already exceeded capacity.
More than 700,000 students wrote the final exams in 2013, with tertiary institutions noting that they have been inundated with thousands of applications for limited spaces.
Universities warned they would not accept walk-in applications.
The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) received 80,000 applications for first year, while the University of Johannesburg (UJ) had nearly 75,000. The University of Pretoria (UP) had 42,000 applications.
TUT registrar, Prof Steward Mothata said most of the university’s programmes were full for 2014.
“Although the university has received more than 80,000 applications for first-year programmes, TUT can accommodate just over 14,000 first-time entering students at all its sites in 2014,” he said in a statement.
UJ registrar, Prof Kinta Burger said the institution could only accommodate about 10,500 first-year students.
“UJ will review the status of all applicants based on the applicants’ final Grade 12 results between January 7 and 9. All applicants will receive an SMS during this time which will confirm their final application status,” she said.
Nicolize Mulder from UP said they had space for 10,500 first-year students and these had already been filled.
All three universities said they would not accept any walk-in applications and urged prospective students to make use of their websites.
“UJ does not accommodate any on-campus late applicants. All enquiries regarding late applications, space availability or the change from one programme to another will be dealt with off-campus via a virtual UJ mobi enquiry system or the UJ call centre,” said Burger.
Universities put an end to walk-in applications when a prospective student’s mother was killed and 17 people were injured in a stampede at UJ in 2012. Students were queuing for last-minute applications to the tertiary institution at the time.
Mothatha said students who still wanted to study at TUT this year had to submit an enquiry for the programme they were interested in between January 9 and 12 and, once accepted, apply online.
He added that the list of programmes that still had space available would be updated daily, but emphasised that all enquiries had to be submitted via TUT’s late application enquiry system.
No skilled workers
The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) noted on Tuesday that the current education system is failing young people in preparing them to enter the formal job market.
Neasa said that the majority of school leavers do not have the basic skills set that employers are looking for.
‘The current curriculum do not give priority to vocational training, resulting in a situation where the education system fail to supply workers who have basic skills such as reading and writing that employers need for a specific job,’ said Gerhard Papenfus, Neasa CEO.
Research showed that the biggest challenge facing the school system is learners’ unsatisfactory language, comprehension and numeracy skills.
In 2012, only 2% of grade nines achieved more than 50% in numeracy skills and only 17% achieved more than 50% in an additional language subject. This trend continues as learners proceed to higher grades.
“Many people with a matric certificate are struggling to find employment because they did not take the right subjects. Recent studies have shown that only 50% of people with a matric certificate are employed.”
“Government’s youth wage subsidy is therefore actually insignificant when you have a basic education department that are delivering lesser and lesser numbers of employable people. We therefore agree with University of Free State vice chancellor, Jonathan Jansen, that the pass rate should be raised to 50% and not the current base of 30% in some subjects and 40% in others,” Papenfus said.
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