Following the announcement by ex-President Zuma that fully subsidised free education and training would be extended to all public TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) colleges over the next five years, for South African students who meet the economic criteria, the sector anticipates that demand will far exceed the availability of places for full-time study at South Africa’s fifty public TVET colleges.
In addition to several hundred thousand 2017 matriculants, there are many mature students also needing further education and a qualification.
With colleges and universities already operating at the limit of their full-time and even part-time enrollment capacity, the only viable means of rapidly increasing access to further and higher education is through Distance Learning.
Along with its established Distance Learning options of study towards a National Diploma in Business, Financial or Public Management, or National Certificates (N1-N3) in Motor Mechanics and Electrical Engineering, False Bay TVET College is happy to announce that applications are now open for Distance Learning opportunities in Fitting and Turning (N1-N3), Educare (N4-N5) and Hospitality & Catering Services (N4-N5).
Distance Learning suits students who are self-reliant, mature, disciplined and well motivated. Older students, people already in employment, those unable to travel or commute due to distance, economics or disability, and young parents or caregivers, typically benefit from distance learning study.
While Distance Learning students have the same access to the College Learning Management System as full-time students do, Marian Theron, Campus Head for Distance Learning at False Bay TVET College, cautions that the option is not for everyone.
“Because students are not in face-to-face contact with lecturers and classmates, or having the imposed discipline of attending a fixed schedule of lectures, the lack of dynamic daily interaction with fellow students and in-contact lecturers can impact on learning and on students’ ultimate success,” says Ms Theron.
“That is why at FBC, we insist on a face-to-face introductory session. It is vital to build a relationship with the appointed subject matter experts, not only to offer you course support, but to keep you motivated to complete the course. Exams also have to be written on campus, and there are other contact opportunities for Distance Learning students to interact with the Campus. Our innovative system has helped to raise the success rate of these courses, and we constantly revisit ways to improve our support to students.”
This system seems to be yielding positive results. Students feel more accountable and upon review of the latest results, the FBC Distance Learning Department has recorded 9 distinction passes in engineering programmes and 17 in Business Studies programmes.