Free institutions speed up skills development

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Free tertiary education institutions have a role to play in alleviating the country's skills shortage but the lack of funding and sustainability are slowing down the growth of these resources.

"We can't continue to rely on donations and sponsorships," said Eden Campus administrative director Amanda Boardman. "Big corporations will sooner or later get tired of handing out money each year. Our biggest challenge is trying to be economically viable."

South Africa has three free-to-the-student institutions - Cida City Campus in Johannesburg's inner city, the Tertiary School in Business Administration (Tsiba) in Cape Town and Eden Campus in Karatara on the Garden Route.

All three institutions provide a free education to people who cannot afford tertiary education. They all offer business courses that focus on developing entre-preneurial skills. Tsiba relationship manager Gia Polovin said: "Our success rate is very high compared to traditional tertiary institutions. It's because of our one-on-one approach, small classes and mentoring programme that includes all students. If this type of institution succeeds, it will create a great sense of hope for South Africa."

Cida first year student Busiswa Nxazonke said that the structure at the campus was helping her on a personal level. "You get more than just an education; you are encouraged to reflect on yourself, what you are doing and what it means on a deeper level."

Boardman said these education facilities needed more than just the government on board in order to be sustainable. "Getting the communities involved will be integral to our success."