V-cs in discussions on South African shake-up

September 12, 2003

A change to South Africa's school system that adds a formalised period of further education after nine years of schooling will have a significant impact on higher education, say universities and technikons (polytechnics).

Pupils currently have 12 years of schooling, ending with matriculation examinations that form the basis of their qualification for higher education. From 2006, after completing grade nine, pupils will receive a general education and training certificate (the end of compulsory schooling) and either leave or enter a further education college to obtain a Further Education and Training certificate. Seven subjects will be studied, four of them compulsory.

Themba Ndlovu, the national education department's director of Fet, said pupils applying for universities and technikons would no longer be assessed on aggregate performance but "will be judged on their performance in individual subjects". The vice-chancellors association is to discuss the implications of Fet for admissions with the Department of Education. Talks will focus on the "combination of subjects and levels of achievement which would be required to achieve entry into degree programmes", association chief executive Piyushi Kotecha said.

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