Universities will only be able to commence classes in March, as matric results will be released on February 23 next year. File Picture
Universities will only be able to commence classes in March, as matric results will be released on February 23 next year. File Picture

SA students rejected by universities can explore other options

By Michelle Lorber Time of article published Dec 29, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - A multitude of matriculants may struggle to find placement in 2021 as South Africa’s public universities are unable to meet the full demand for spaces.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) receives eight times the number of applications (32 000 applicants with only 4 200 spots available) that can be accommodated, with the pressure even greater for degrees which are in high demand, such as medicine, law, engineering, accounting, education and social work.

Other universities also report similar ratios. For instance, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) receives 10 times the number of applications (91 000 applicants with only 8 770 spots available).

Wits University receives 14 times the number of applications (70 349 applicants with only 5 000 spots available).

However, there are alternative options. Education specialists have encouraged parents and matriculants to consider pursuing tertiary qualifications outside of the public system with those institutions registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

“Many people erroneously believe you can only get a degree, or even a doctorate, at a university”, says STADIO Higher Education chief academic officer Divya Singh.

“This is not correct. Private higher education institutions which are registered with DHET offer accredited qualifications of equal quality to the public institutions.”

Government regulations only allow for public higher education institutions to call themselves universities, even though the Council on Higher Education (CHE) accredits all programmes from both public and private institutions.

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) also applies the same standards to register qualifications from both private and public higher education institutions.

As an example, STADIO offers degrees in business, management, law, media and design, IT, fashion, policing and education, among other choices.

Singh says: “This is why matriculants should not despair, as there is now an excellent range of private tertiary offerings that can accommodate them and offer considerable benefit – including distance and contact learning enabled by state-of-the-art online platforms and systems.”

Additionally, learners who do not achieve a Bachelor’s pass can complete a Higher Certificate which will allow them to access to more tertiary options, including degreed courses.

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