Diploma rejected

A RICHARDS Bay college graduate is disillusioned and searching for answers after being told by a Durban university that her qualifications do not count towards any credits for further study.

‘I studied through Umfolozi TVET College and gained a National Diploma in Engineering, plus passing my trade test,’ said the part-time student, who works within the engineering sector and asked to remain anonymous.

‘Now I want to enrol in the BTech programme so I can progress up the ladder of my industry.

‘However, I have been told by numerous universities, including Durban University of Technology (DUT), that I cannot get credits for my existing subjects’.

After six years of study, the student now faces starting from scratch or stagnating at her current level.

Bhekani Ndlovu, Public Relations Officer at Umfolozi TVET College, said this issue has not been brought to the attention of the college but that some modules within their national diploma should count towards university credits.

‘Umfolozi TVET College is a public institution; it is one of 50 TVET colleges in South Africa and one of nine in KwaZulu-Natal,’ said Ndlovu. ‘The electrical engineering diploma consists of 12 modules.

While some may not be the same as those that would be done at a university or university of technology, universities offer bridging courses for students whose existing qualifications are not covered’.

According to the official TVET website, TVET courses are vocational, meaning students receive training with a view towards a specific range of jobs.

‘Under certain conditions, some students may qualify for admission to a university of technology to continue their studies at a higher level in the same field of study as they were studying at the TVET College’.

Artisan versus technician

Professor Walker, Acting Executive Dean of DUT’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, said that, while up to three or four exemptions may be granted to students depending on their TVET courses, the entrance requirement for DUT’s BTech is the diploma issued by them or other universities of technology.

‘Diplomas offered at TVET colleges are very different from those offered at universities of technology like DUT,’ said Walker.

‘TVET diplomas were initially intended for artisan training, whereas ours are to educate technicians’.

Walker went on to clarify that Higher National Diplomas (HND) – ‘T4’ diplomas – were phased out at universities of technology many years ago and replaced by ‘S’ course diplomas and BTech degrees.

‘Thus the T3 National Diploma was replaced by the current three-year diploma and the T4 HND was replaced by the one-year BTech.

‘To be accepted into the BTech programme a student must have completed the current diploma,’ concluded Walker.

However, these too are being phased out and, from next year, DUT will offer only the three-year Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree.


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Tamlyn Jolly

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