Cape Town – An education expert has warned matriculants not to fall prey to “bogus colleges” just because they feel pressured to sign up for tertiary education.
According to the general manager at The Independent Institute of Education, Peter Kriel, thousands of learners were in the unexpectedly happy position – due to the country’s pass rate – of having received a bachelor’s pass, and therefore qualifying for further study.
“Those who didn’t make provision for this eventuality, may now find themselves in a situation where they no longer need to settle for their Plan B, but can in fact go for Plan A, realising their dreams of pursuing a degree, but with no place at university yet.”
Kriel warned that matriculants needed to take extra special care to ensure that they were signing up for the right qualification, for the right reason, at the right institution.
“Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has warned prospective students not to fall for bogus colleges – which can cost precious time and money with no return at the end – but to ensure that they sign up at a registered and accredited institution,” he said.
Ensuring that an institution and its qualifications were above board by doing the relevant checks, was a crucial step before one even considered enrolling, he added.
More than that, prospective students had to ensure that their qualifications would still be relevant and could provide a foot in the door and the ability to hit the ground running in the world of work.
“Unfortunately, many qualifications, even from respected universities, are not going to adequately prepare you for the world of work, and the work of the future. Keep in mind that technology is constantly advancing, with new approaches, best practices, tools and so forth being incorporated into workplaces all the time, all over the world.
“So your institution and qualification must be cognisant of this, and importantly, have a close connection to industry, to ensure that your education isn’t obsolete by the time you attend your graduation ceremony."
Kriel added that prospective students must first speak to career advisors at public universities and private institutions, interrogating both their insight into the current challenges in today’s world of work, as well as their approaches and insights into the likely challenges of the future.
“Ask them how they expect your field to evolve in future, and how their curriculum takes this into account. In addition, how agile their response is likely to be to new technological and other advances, and their incorporation into the curriculum.
“Many institutions will claim they go beyond academics and theory, but can they give you insight into their commitment to lifelong learning and the development of vital soft skills so highly valued by employers?”
Due diligence should under no circumstances be discarded, said Kriel.
African News Agency (ANA)