Varsity students low

REIGNITING THE PASSION: The PPS Student Confidence Index found that almost 50% of students are unprepared for tertiary education. PICTURE: GETTY IMAGES

More students appear to have lost interest and passion to prepare for the transition from secondary school to tertiary education, a survey has found.

The PPS Student Confidence Index (SCI) found that just under 50% of students revealed that they were unprepared for tertiary education.

The index was conducted among students in their fourth year or above, studying at a public university or university of technology towards a profession-specific degree such as engineering, medicine, law or accounting.

Students answered questionnaires online, face to face on campus and through focus groups.

According to Motshabi Nomvethe, technical marketing specialist of PPS, there needs to be more engagement by the corporate sector and professional bodies with the government on school curriculums to ensure the divide between secondary and tertiary education levels is reduced.

She said the implications of this lack of preparedness is no doubt contributing to the fact that 47.9% of university students do not complete their degrees, as determined in the latest report by the Department of Higher Education in 2015.

“The proposal by the Department of Basic Education to drop pass rates and remove mathematics as a compulsory subject could have a negative impact on South Africans’ future skills as many professional degrees require mathematics as a subject for acceptance,” she said.

Nomvethe advises students to put in their extra time either by finding out if there are extra classes or assistance being offered by the tertiary institution, forming study groups with other students, looking for assistance from someone in the community or even getting a tutor when they feel that they are struggling to get to grasp with tertiary education.

South African corporates could include dedicating funds or employees’ time to providing extra lessons for students, developing a bridging course between secondary and tertiary education, assisting to provide career guidance or offering school pupils internships during school holidays in order to expose them to the working world.

“Solutions such as these provide a great way for corporate South Africa and professionals to give back to the communities in which they operate.

“With the skills shortage gripping our country, we need to stand together to reach our united goal of increasing South Africa’s valuable skills base,” Nomvethe said.

Nonhlanhla Maseko