As a sizable percentage of the current crop of Matriculants scramble to submit last minute applications for tertiary education in 2015, the Department of High Education and Training (DHET) has revealed that it will assist students in securing a place at an institution of their choice. This is in order to prevent many matriculants being left in the lurch, without any plans or options for the coming year.
The department’s spokesperson Khaya Nkwanyana said a dedicated team under the Central Application Clearing House (CACH) had been set up, whose core focus will be to assist students who have either applied too late at the universities, or have failed to receive a response from any of the institutions they have submitted applications to.
“This programme assists those children in terms of finding spaces for placement in various institutions of higher learning, either in universities or colleges. We have a dedicated toll free number that we have set up just for this purpose,” he said.
The department has also instituted an SMS line to which students can send their I.D number, with the department following up and providing regular updates to the applicant on any availability. Students will have the option of selecting a university of their preference, and should the department be unable to secure a place, alternative institutions that offer the same course will be suggested.
“It is an interventionist measure at this time, because part of the aim is to minimize the unnecessary queues that we always see at the beginning of the year,” he stated.
For those students seeking financial assistance, the department will, upon confirmation from the institution that there is space for the prospective student, provide help through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). This will depend on specific financial criteria that will determine whether the student is in fact in need of assistance. The department will also offer career guidance to students.
“Some of them finish matric, but they are not too sure exactly what they want to do. That has been evident in a number of cases, so we also offer specialized career guidance,” he said.
Nkwanyana said the aim was to establish a centralized system for higher education applications in South Africa. This would help students avoid missing out on a place due to non-acceptance, or through delays in their their application. It would also increase the number of South African students that gained entry into tertiary institutions.
“By 2020 we will have a centralized system where every prospective student will have an application, and will be place in the institution of their choice in the previous year, before the academic year starts. By the time you begin the year, you know you have been taken in either at UCT or Stellenbosch,” he explained.
You may contact CACH on the toll free number at 0800 356 635, or via sms at 49200. You can also visit the applications website atcach.dhet.gov.za. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)