What are FET colleges?
FET College stands for Further Education and Training College. FET colleges can either be private or public colleges. A quality FET learning institutions will be accredited by sector specific education and training authorities. These authorities are responsible for monitoring the quality of the education provided by each individual FET College.
FET Colleges offer vocational training courses that focus on teaching the student specific skill sets for a specific job. Anyone in possession of an NQF Level 1 certification or an Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) certification can study at a FET College. Each individual course does however have its own entrance criteria.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation for FET Colleges means that these colleges provide learning of a specific standard that falls within the policy guidelines of Umalusi and the Department of Education. Accreditation is very important for any FET College as it ensures that the programmes offered by these learning institutes comply within the national guidelines, ensuring that they are recognised in the workplace.
Umalusi accredits only private fet colleges and its evaluation and accreditation unit is responsible for the accreditation of the private college. It also oversees the accreditation of examination bodies that examine programmes offered by FET Colleges – both private and public. Public providers such as public schools, public adult learning centres and public fet colleges do not need to apply for accreditation. It is however important to note that all private fet colleges must be registered with the department of higher education.
Accreditation is provided for national certifications which are formal qualifications, registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). National qualifications are quality assured by the relevant sector education and training authority (SETA) or Umalusi. These qualifications carry national credits and are certified by the SETA, Council for Higher Education or Umalusi, not by a provider.
Are all FET Colleges accredited?
No. whilst it is mandatory for private FET colleges to obtain accreditation from Umalusi, a SETA, or the council for higher education, public FET colleges do not need accreditation as they fall under the state’s network of learning institutions. If you study at a public FET college, your certification will be accredited. If you study at a private FET college it is important to ensure that your certification is indeed accredited.
Enrolling for a nationally recognised programme
If you intend to enrol for a nationally recognised qualification, request written proof from the college that the programme is registered on the National Qualifications Framework database. The NQF identification number should be in evidence and listed on the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) website.
You should also ask for proof that the college is registered with the department of higher education and training. The college should be able to present you with a registration number.