At the moment, South Africa has 50 registered public FET colleges. These colleges make up around 300 campuses that are located all over the country. These colleges all operate under the FET colleges act, and fall under the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
Public FET Colleges are subsidised by the government, and have provincial offices that oversee the operations of the these kinds of colleges that fall within the respective provinces. This is the biggest difference between private and public FET colleges, because private FET colleges are funded and owned independently.
Students can apply for bursaries for public FET colleges at the DHET, for either National Certificate Vocational courses or NATED courses. In order to qualify for these FET bursaries, students need to fulfil two criteria:
- Students will need to prove that they are in need of financial aid.
- Students need to have an outstanding academic record.
There are also additional bursaries available from the colleges themselves, but these will not be the same at every college.
These colleges provide different forms of learning – fulltime classes, distance learning, or a combination of the two. This ensures that everyone can find a college that will cater for their individual study needs.
FET colleges also have close relationships with businesses within the fields that their courses train towards. In this way, students can get industry-specific training and often also easy placements for practical experience or internships. Oftentimes, the lecturers of the college are people who work within the industry itself, and can thus provide relevant training.
Furthermore, public FET colleges often partner with international companies to ensure that the learning provided in South Africa is on a par with international standards.
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