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Battle on for a spot at tertiary institutions

24/10/2011. Afrikaanse Hoer Meisieskool Pretoria matriculants refreshing after writing their first matric exam paper outside their exam room. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

24/10/2011. Afrikaanse Hoer Meisieskool Pretoria matriculants refreshing after writing their first matric exam paper outside their exam room. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Published Dec 17, 2013


Johannesburg - In the first quarter of this year, South Africa had 3.5 million young people aged 16 to 23 who were neither in employment, education nor training.

A total of 576 490 matric pupils and 130 646 part-time candidates sat for the matric exams this year, but only a fraction will be absorbed by higher education institutions and the labour market.

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And Grade 12s who do pass and meet the requirements to study at university are sometimes left out in the cold because the number of applications that institutions receive far outweighs the limited space available.

By early September this year – four weeks before the September 30 deadline that most universities had set for applications – institution had already received applications that exceeded the number of spots available by tens of thousands.

For example, Wits University had received more than 34 000 first-year applications in the first week of September, but the institution can accommodate only 5 500 first years for the 2014 academic year.

The University of Pretoria had received more than 30 000 applications by that same period, but had space for only 16 500 undergraduates.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) had received about 40 000 applications by then but had room for only 10 800 first-year students.

Despite the September deadline, higher education and training institutions receive an influx of late applications in January when the matric results are released as pupils who didn’t expect to qualify to study at a university suddenly realise they made the cut.

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Next year will be no different.

Following the tragedy at UJ last year when a mother, Gloria Sekwena, was killed during a stampede while at the university to assist her son Kgositsile, 19, to apply, the Department of Higher Education and Training launched a Central Application System (CAS).

The first phase of the CAS, referred to as the Clearing House, was developed to ensure that applications, particularly those that come in January, are better managed and the number of walk-ins decreases.

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The CAS also assists matriculants who qualify for higher education but haven’t been accepted at any institution.

It also places students who have not been accepted at higher education institutions in further and training programmes such as sector education and training authority (Seta) learnerships and internships in public and private sector organisations.

The Clearing House is supported by a website portal; the Career Advice toll-free call centre, 0860 111 673; and an SMS line, 072 204 5056, which will also accept Please Call Me requests. - The Star

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Numbers, links and info to remember

* Central Application Clearing House (CACH) service: 0860 356 635

CACH SMS: 49200 or 072 2045 056

CACH website: (CACH link on the left)

* Career Advice website:

e-mail: [email protected]

The National Career Advice Portal is accessible also from the Career Advice website. This includes the qualifications offered at public universities and at further education and training colleges.

* Career Advice Facebook site: This site is managed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) as part of the Career Advice Helpline, 0860 111 673, SMS 072 2045 056.

Jobs and learnerships are regularly posted on the site.

* Combined services by the SAQA and the CACH will be accessible through 0860 111 673 – the best number to use during the festive season as the Career Advice service will be closed from December 21 to January 6. – Source: Department of Higher Education and Training

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