The Study in Gauteng Campaign is mainly focused on the marketing of the Gauteng Province as a premier study destination for prospective students. The Study in Gauteng Campaign also seeks to encourage students from the Gauteng Province to consider pursuing their post-school, tertiary education in the Gauteng Province as their first-choice study destination.
From 2015 to 2019, the Gauteng Province achieved the position of being on the top three best performing provinces with regard to the matric results. In 2019 the province achieved a matric pass rate of 87.2%, placing the province in the second position after the Free State with a pass rate of 88.4%.
But It remains ironical that, despite its consistent performance as one of the top producers of the best matriculants in the country for the last five years, the Gauteng Province is not making efforts for the retention or attraction of some of its best crop of matriculants to the sixteen (16) public tertiary institutions in the Gauteng Province. These top matriculants from the Gauteng Province, are lost to other neighboring provinces especially, Free State, Kwazulu Natal, and the Western Cape provinces. The trend is that, once they migrate from the Gauteng Province, they never return.
Simply put, over the years the Gauteng Province has been experiencing the brain drain of some of its brightest, smartest young minds who could have been retained to study at its reputable institutions of higher learning and remain as a human capital resource to serve their home province. To think that through its various sources of financial aid grants, the Gauteng Province is complicit in financing the migration of its “top crop matriculants” by paying their cost of studies to study at other universities and colleges in other provinces. The Premier of the Gauteng Province must take the lead to marshal provincial and local government funding to prioritize the financing of students who choose Gauteng Province as a first-choice study destination.
Student Times and the Times Group has partnered with the South African Student Cities Network and the African Study Destinations Network to provide unique guidance for prospective students from the Gauteng Province to consider the Gauteng Province as a premier study destination. More than any other matric group in the past years, the matric class of 2020 will have to consider to study within their home province due to the uncertainty brought about the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the disruption of the 2020 school calendar caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 matric results are scheduled to be officially released on 23 February 2021. Annually the Gauteng Department of Education produces an estimated 40,000 matriculants who qualify for Bachelor`s programs, 40,000 for Diploma`s programs and 15,000 who qualify for Higher Certificate`s programs.
On the other hand, the Gauteng Province as a premier study destination offers a combined 800,000 spaces at its sixteen reputable public institutions of higher learning in the province which includes the University of South Africa, University of Pretoria, Tshwane University of Technology, Sefako Makgatho University, Wits University, University of Johannesburg, Vaal University of Technology and North-West University. The Gauteng Province is also a host to eight public TVET Colleges including the Tshwane North and South TVET Colleges, Ekurhuleni East and West TVET Colleges, Sedibeng TVET College, Central Johannesburg TVET College, South West Gauteng TVET College and the Western TVET College. Matriculants from the Gauteng Province can also access several private colleges and universities as well as vocational training academies.
Ideally, the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and the Gauteng Tourism Authority as a custodian of student tourism in the province should work closely with the Gauteng Department of Education and the public colleges and universities in the Gauteng Province to embark on a concentrated and coordinated efforts for the recruitment of the current matriculants from the Gauteng Province to study at the various student cities, towns or townships in the Gauteng Province.
With the NSFAS application season open from 1 August 2020 to 30 November 2020, the Gauteng Department of Education and high school educators across the Gauteng Province must make computer facilities available to assist each and every matriculant in the province to apply online for (1) for NSFAS funding, (2) Gauteng government or local municipalities financial aid funding, (3) apply for studies at the eight public universities in the progress and (4) apply for studies at any of the eight public TVET colleges in the province.
The end goal of the Study in Gauteng Campaign must be to ensure that each and every matriculant in the Gauteng Province – any matric student who has completed their matric in 2019 or before, or matriculants who are currently in matric during the 2020 academic year – should apply for their tertiary studies at any of the sixteen post-secondary institutions available in the Gauteng Province. As part of its study destination services, the South African Student Cities Network and the African Study Destinations Network provides for a Higher Education Central Application Clearing House Integrated (HECACHI) Mobile APP to facilitate a coordinated provincial application process for matriculants who wish to pursue their studies at any study destination of choice.
In the next few months, the Study in Gauteng Campaign Series pioneered by Student Times and the Times Group in partnership with the South African Student Cities Network and the African Study Destinations Network will publish a series of the articles to provide unique guidance for prospective students from the Gauteng Province to consider the Gauteng Province as a premier study destination. The series of articles will profile the various public universities and colleges in the Gauteng Province as well as provide a study destination marketing of the various cities, towns and townships that are a host to a college or university campus across the Gauteng Province. The Tshwane Student City is a Host to Four Public Universities and Two Public TVET Colleges
By definition, a student city is a city or town with a strong representation of university and college students. Typically, the city, town, or village should be able to cater to student needs well and should adapt well to having many students in the community. When together in large numbers, students determine housing, employment, social and cultural trends in the communities where they live.
Student spending fuels local businesses and influences the types of housing and services provided. Student habits, such as going out at night and holidaying during term breaks, create distinct city rhythms and seasons.
Put together in their high numbers, student communities constitute a sizeable force or catalyst for local economic development. Due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of colleges and universities since March 2020, many student cities and towns like the Twin Metro Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane – and across the country and the world – have suffered economically through the absence of students and their economic spending power.
Empty Private Student Accommodation Facility in Hatfield Since the Closure of Several TVET Colleges and Universities in the City of Tshwane
Hopefully, with the assistance of the leadership of the Premier of the Gauteng Province, David Makhura and the Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi who are both passionate about youth development and education, the Gauteng Department of Economic Development and Gauteng Tourism Authority and the various public and private colleges and universities in the Gauteng Province, the Student Times and the various township based Times Group will be able to produce and publish a sizeable number of digital and tangible newspapers for distribution at all the high schools in the Gauteng Province to have access to the information provided by the Study in Gauteng Campaign.
Ultimately, the end goal of the Study in Gauteng Campaign Series must be to ensure that each and every matriculant in the Gauteng province – from the hamlets, villages, and farms, from the Klein Dorpies and towns, from the suburbs and metropolitan cities – should be encouraged and assisted to apply for tertiary studies at any of the sixteen post-secondary institutions available in the Gauteng Province.