WHAT ARE COLLEGES
Colleges are academic institutions where students can further their education. In South Africa, Colleges are regarded as institutions of higher learning. This means that they are at a higher level than school education.
The education system could be illustrated as follows:
How does everything fit together?
From this diagram you’ll see that certain parts of education build on each other:
Preschool: Before you can start your Primary School education in Grade 1, you need to finish Grade R at Preschool level first.
Primary School: Now you need to complete Grades 1-7.
High School: Then, after completing Grade 7, you’ll be able to move on to High School where you’ll start in Grade 8.
Further Education: Once you’ve obtained your Matric Certificate at the end of Grade 12, you can move on to higher education such as University education.
What qualification do you need to enrol at a College?
In South Africa, learners are required by law to attend school until they have successfully completed Grade 9 or until they are 15 years old. This means that learners are allowed entry into certain College or Technikon courses from Grade 10 level and up, so if they never completed their High School careers, they still have the opportunity to further their education at Colleges or Technikons.
How do Colleges differ from other academic institutions?
Academically speaking, Colleges are between High School and University level, which implies that the entrance criteria for College courses would not be as stringent as those for University programmes. As explained above, certain College courses are offered from Grade 10 level and up, whereas University programmes all require at least a Matric Certificate with exemption and certain minimum grades. Colleges are therefore more accessible to the average student.
What does accreditation status mean?
One should always verify the accreditation status of the College you wish to enrol with. In South Africa, education providers are monitored and regulated by the Department of Education through Umalusi. Umalusi is the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training. When a College is accredited by this body, it means that their courses and programmes have been approved and that they comply with the set standards for that subject. Obtaining a qualification from an accredited education provider is a very valuable investment in your future!