South Africa's Vocational Colleges Struggle to Do Their Job

South Africa's Vocational Colleges Struggle to Do Their Job 1

Candace Feit

South Africa's network of vocational colleges, like South West Gauteng FET College (above and in other photos here), in Soweto, have long been criticized for high attrition and low job-placement rates.

In the early hours of January 10, 2012, a line began to form outside the gates of the University of Johannesburg, one of South Africa's largest public universities. By dawn the sleepy throng of 8,000 stretched for more than a mile, prospective students and their parents intent on securing one of 800 last-minute spots in the first-year class.

When the gates opened, at 7:30 a.m., the line flooded forward. Bodies slammed into the metal fence as the crowd shoved its way onto the campus.