News / Africa

South African Students Struggle for University Admission

South African musician, Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse (R), 60, talks with a classmate as he attends class in a school in Soweto, April 25, 2012.South African musician, Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse (R), 60, talks with a classmate as he attends class in a school in Soweto, April 25, 2012.
x
South African musician, Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse (R), 60, talks with a classmate as he attends class in a school in Soweto, April 25, 2012.
South African musician, Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse (R), 60, talks with a classmate as he attends class in a school in Soweto, April 25, 2012.
Solenn Honorine
In South Africa, the generation of students born after 1994, when Nelson Mandela became the country's first democratically elected black president, has been celebrated for its success in the end of high school exam, called the “matric.”  This year's pass rate was nearly 74 percent, 13 points higher than three years ago.  But now some students struggle to find a spot in a university.  Last year, one mother died in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg when a throng of students scrambled to enroll.  This year, universities have been more careful.

To avoid another tragedy, the University of Johannesburg resorted to a very strict “no walk-ins” policy.  Nicholas Manyini, a security guard, says he has been turning away a regular trickle of hopeful applicants. “The stampede from last year was hectic and had an effect on the institution.  This alternative yielded good results.  Of course people get frustrated because they call in large number and it can only assimilate the number that can be picked up,” he explained.

Fresh graduate Alilea is waiting outside the campus doors.  She says she is scrambling to find a spot somewhere to continue her studies. “I thought I wasn't going to be able to qualify and all that, but I did actually," she said. "I know I applied late and all that, but then... they have to have space for us!  I need to go to school!  I need to study!”

Having more students pass the matric doesn't necessarily mean that more will get a chance at further study.  Nor does it mean that the general level of students is improving.  Experts quoted in the local press say the standards required to pass the matric keep on being lowered.

At University of the Witswaterstrand, one of the most selective of the country, every college is full, except for a few spots in the education program.  Carol Crosley, who is in charge of admissions, says her school cannot accept more students.

“Because we've got a static number of spaces available, it becomes that much more competitive.  So, in the past, when students may say they managed to get into, let's say, engineering with 60 percent for most of their courses, we are finding now that the average student requires 70 percent to get in engineering,” Crosley stated.

South Africa's minister for higher education has called for pupils to try their luck in vocational colleges that may lack the prestige of universities, but provide training for qualified workers that the country sorely lacks.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bob from: Conyers,Georgia
January 14, 2013 4:34 PM
The more people you educate you create more jobs.It builds a strong economic base.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More