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Pretoria - Hundreds of desperate students have been standing in snaking queues for hours in a bid to get admission at colleges around the city.
On Monday, a queue with hundreds of hopeful students had formed around the Tshwane North College in Du Toit Street. The prospective students said they were hoping to get into the college as they had failed to get places at universities.
Patronella Malatji and Mpho Kgaritse stood in line from 10am until after 4pm. The two, from Tembisa, want to study human resources. “If we cannot go in today, we will come back very early tomorrow. If this college is full then we will have to try another one,” said Malatji.
Colleges are the only hope for students who have been rejected at universities to further their studies. Last year, a record 181 921 students passed matric with bachelor passes that allow them to go to universities, an increase of 35 708 over the figure for 2012.
But there isn’t enough space for them and most higher education institutions are not allowing walk-in students. Two new universities – Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape and the University of Mpumalanga – are not yet fully functional and won’t be able to help ease the load.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande last week said there were 396 449 study opportunities for recent matriculants in colleges, universities and learnerships.
University of Pretoria spokeswoman Nicolize Mulder said the institution received 42 000 applications but could accommodate only 10 500 first-years. Unisa received about 139 000 applications for admission during the application phase that closed in September. Only 90 000 were accepted.
Spokesman Martin Ramotshela said: “No late applications or registrations will be allowed, and prospective students are advised to apply again during the next application period from April 7 to 25.”
Registrations at Unisa close on January 24.
The Tshwane University of Technology had 80 000 applications for 14 000 spaces last year. Only a few gaps were left in certain courses for late applicants, and students were allowed to apply online only from last week.
Yesterday, registrar Professor Steward Mothata said 8 377 enquiries about admission were received on their online late-application system. “A dedicated team of staff members have been working tirelessly to process these enquiries. The university is currently in the process of sending SMSes to prospective students, inviting them to come and register or to submit a formal application. Students can check their status online on TUT’s website.”
Registration at TUT closes on February 7. As a result of the shortage of spaces at universities, further education and training colleges are the last hope for most would-be students.
Private FET colleges took advantage of the long queues and distributed flyers to the students.
Meanwhile, Dr Felicity Coughlan, the director of the Independent Institute of Education, warned students about enrolling at unregistered colleges.
All the key information about the registration of an institution is available in the Register of Private Higher Education Institutions kept by the Department of Higher Education and Training, and the information was also readily available from reputable institutions.
“Students eager to sign up in the current climate where spaces… are scarce may be tempted to forgo this additional hassle. But failing to make the effort makes you vulnerable to scamsters,” she said.