What You Need to Know About Your Childs Future in SA

Education and higher education in South Africa was the main focus in the news in 2016. With the start of a new year, what is the potential future of your child’s education in South Africa?

2016 was the year of student protests and student unrest. The most notable of these protests were the Fees Must Fall protests which was sparked by the 2015 announcement of proposed tuition fee hikes of between 10% and 12%. With an ever-increasing demand for specific skills and students who require jobs – you might be wondering: “what do I need to know about my child’s future in South Africa?”

South Africa’s Matriculants:  2016’s matric pass rate was 72.5%, a slightly higher percentage than what was achieved in 2015. This pass rate signifies a positive number for many students and parents who celebrated good marks, and perhaps admissions into their higher institutions of choice.

However, this is not the reality for a vast number of students in South Africa.

South Africa’s education system has regularly faced issues. From nation-wide infrastructure problems, to a lack of skilled teachers – especially in rural areas. Education is constantly a subject of scrutiny, debate and frustration in South Africa. As a parent, your concern for your child’s education is without a doubt a matter of importance.

If your child was one of the 27.5% of matriculants who did not pass, you may be wondering what the next step is.

So, what now?

You can start by reading this article. Failing matric can happen for a multitude of reasons and it is important to assess why your child may have failed before deciding on how to proceed.

In South Africa, a matric certificate is still considered a minimum requirement for many jobs as well as for admission into various courses. It is important to encourage your child to do whatever they can in order to achieve this certificate with the best results they can and ensure better opportunities in the future (we’ll talk more about this soon).  So, what are the other options to achieving a matric certificate?

South Africa is Giving you a Second Chance:

The Department of Basic Education in South Africa has recently launched the Second Chance Matric Programme and the best news of all? ITS FREE!

This means that your child can enroll and have another opportunity to obtain a Grade 12 matric certificate. Your child will also have a chance to improve their computer skills which will enable them to have better job opportunities. They will also have the opportunity to further their studies at a TVET or higher education institution.

The applications are now open: Click here.

Consider advising your child to attend a TVET college:

  • TVET is an abbreviation for Technical and Vocational Education and Training and refers to a place which offers courses which are vocational or occupational. This means that the student will receive training towards a certain range of jobs or employment. So, if your child has failed matric, they have the option of applying towards obtaining a certificate from a TVET college. This may allow your child to apply to a University of Technology in order to continue their studies at a higher level in the same field of study as they were studying at the TVET College.
  • There are so many TVET colleges to choose from.Click here to see a list of all the available TVET Colleges in South Africa.

If your child was one of the 72.5% of students who passed matric, you might be wondering what their next step may be. With recent unrest at many South African universities you might feel uncertain. Can you afford to send you child to university? How can they fund themselves or find funding?

Is University an Option?

South Africa is home to 26 universities and countless colleges and TVET’s. While gaining a tertiary education is certainly a valued skill in South Africa, one which will certainly provide your child with a greater chance to get a job, it is not the only option.

If your child hopes to study at a South African university and has achieved the marks they need for admission, they are most likely currently preparing to pack up and leave home. The topic of university fees is probably high on your list of concerns.

If your child is running a bit late with 2017 applications- these are the universities that are still accepting applications.

In South Africa, the cost of tertiary education varies, however, it is expensive for the average South African family, guardian or prospective student. If you’re interested to see which South African university is the most expensive and which degree is considered to cost the most, look at this interesting article about how much it costs to go to a South African university and which course is considered the most expensive.

Fees Must Fall and The University Situation 

Last year, South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced the decision to allow universities to “individually…determine the level of (fee) increase that their institutions require…” however, none should be increased by more than 8% for 2017.

This announcement occurred after a nationwide 0% increase on fees in 2016.

What does this mean for you and your child?

Overall the decision is good news because it is dependent on each university (and the cost of the course) what the fees will be. Make sure that you check the fees at each respective university as well as their financial aid options.

The minister of Education also confirmed that students who are on the National Student Aid Financial Scheme (NSFAS) will not pay increased fees in 2017. The other good news that was added was the second category of students who will not be required to pay increased fees: the missing middle. These are students whose parents earn too much money to qualify for loans from NSFAS but too little to actually afford university fees. Money will now be budgeted to ensure that this group doesn’t pay increased fees in 2017. 

How Can Your Child Qualify for Financial Aid?

Financial aid is usually offered by the university and offered to students whose family/guardian earns below a certain bracket. There are also financial aid options for students who have excelled in previous studies or academics. To find out whether you are eligible for this aid, enquire with your child’s university financial aid office, as details differ from varsity to varsity. To find out more about University financial aid read this article.

What about Bursaries, Grants and Scholarships?

Bursaries, grants and scholarships are granted to students in order to help them cover the costs of their tuition (and sometimes also provide funding for living costs and travel). Your child may be eligible for a bursary if they apply and have achieved good grades or if they are disadvantaged.

To find out more about how your child can get a bursary or a scholarship, read this article.

Check out EduOne’s awesome bursary listings here.

Can Your Child Fund Their Own Studies?  

The long and the short answer to this is – it depends. Many students find well-paying jobs while they study in order to support their living expenses or pay for their tuition.

What are the options for a student who wants to make an income while studying? Read this article on the various student jobs available to students. 

It’s definitely a good idea to encourage your child to get a part-time job while at university. It helps them to gain experience and learn to earn their own income, thereby teaching them how to manage and make money. It is also important for your child to gain experience in their chosen field by volunteering and working during holidays, this will make them more attractive to perspective employers.

EduConnect 2Cents- What Does the Future Hold?

The fact is, this depends on you and on your child. As with all things, life is what you make of it. A student who has worked hard, earned good marks, applies for as many funding opportunities as they can, studies hard and keeps trying, will inevitably succeed.

South Africa is at a difficult time and it is impossible to know the future. Encourage your children to be the best they possibly can be and to work hard.

Check out this interesting talk by Julie Lythcott-Haims on ‘How to raise successful kids — without over-parenting’.