FET colleges ‘bursting at the seams’
A record number of hopefuls turned up to register for their first year of study at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in the Free State.
Only two weeks after opening, colleges already have long waiting lists of students who arrived after the maximum student intake for courses was reached.
Although the final registration figures are not available, colleges are saying they are bursting at the seams.
Makhala Moloi-Labase from the Maluti FET College in Qwaqwa said this is a first for the institution.
“Usually there are still enough places for students who are turned away after the universities and technical universities officially opened. But now our courses are full for full-time and part-time students before the opening of these institutions,” she said.
Moloi-Labase said latecomers will be turned away because the waiting list is already too long. She said the bursaries allocated for FET students made a huge difference, because the region is one of the poorest in the province.
Bob Tladi, administrator at the Motheo FET College in Bloemfontein, said all its N4 courses – for students who passed matric last year – are already full.
Although registration started last week, long queues of hopefuls were still to be seen this week. Tladi said even the two new courses that were introduced this year – Safety in Society and Transport and Logistics – received considerable interest.
A very disappointed Christiaan Janse van Rensburg is one of the students who could not register because the classes are already full.
“I decided to apply at Motheo because of financial reasons. I qualify to study at the Central University of Technology (CUT), but I do not have the money,” he said.
Janse van Rensburg said he was advised to try to register for the semester subjects in July.
Wynona Khan and Jacoba Arends, from Oppermansgronde – approximately 170 km from Bloemfontein – said they arrived on Sunday, but their registration process was only completed on Tuesday.
“We were not properly prepared and did not have all the necessary documents. So after standing in the queue for the whole day on Monday, we had to sleep over in Bloemfontein to proceed again today,” said Arendse.
She and Khan said they registered at Motheo because they received bursaries from the college that would also allow them to stay on campus.
Tabitha Kgosimore from the Goldfields FET College in Welkom said indications were that they had doubled their numbers this year.
She said that although they were still enrolling students for some courses, they were already above their registration target for others.
Howard Ndaba, spokesperson for the Free State department of education, said the department started a campaign to promote FET colleges as institutions of choice for higher learning. He said R142 million was set aside nationally for bursaries to study at FET colleges.