Pathways through the education and training system: do we need a new model?
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Analyses conducted by the Education, Science and Skills Development (ESSD) research programme at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) reveal major obstacles in the education pathway system. The majority of learners entering Further Education and Training (FET) colleges, nursing training institutions and learnerships have already achieved National Senior Certificates prior to enrolment. Higher Education is seen as the only viable option for further learning, contributing to the inverted triangle phenomenon in which a small FET college system plays second fiddle to a much larger higher education system struggling to retain inadequately prepared students. There is similar misalignment at the education-labour market interface. ESSD studies have revealed that similar percentages (around a third) of FET college graduates are employed, unemployed and not economically active (NEA), and that nearly a third of grade 12 learners are unemployed or NEA a year after school. Against this backdrop, this paper proposes a new model for student progression that broadens learning opportunities at the intermediate level.