Whilst free education will not solve all ‘access to education’ issues it will help a lot. The biggest contributor to free education will be in an online format. This however would require that online education sites were data-free so that many more could access them.
Nevertheless, as things now stand, South Africans who fall within a certain income bracket (350 000 per family or less), are eligible for free education.
As mentioned earlier this is an excellent initiative but it does also have some pitfalls.
There is a direct correlation between socio-economic background and dropout rates. Research indicates that students from poorer socio economic backgrounds have a higher chance of dropping out (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40676368_The_Socioeconomic_Gap_in_University_Dropouts). This means that the cohort of learners who qualify for free education are likely to have a higher dropout rate.
Most students who dropout claim that the lack of career guidance was a major cause for them dropping out. In research surveys globally, ‘the lack of career guidance’ is consistently ranked within the top 5 reasons why students drop out.
This increases the need for well qualified career guidance practitioners. PACE Career Centre led the research team that wrote the competency framework for Career Development Practitioners in South Africa. (https://www.paceinstitute.africa/works). The competency framework describes the skills and knowledge that career guidance practioners should have.
PACE Career Centre has been training career guidance practitioners for the past 18 years. Their programmes are all research led and are regarded as the most sought after and comprehensive career guidance practitioner training in the country (https://www.gostudy.net/career-guidance/career-practitioner-training).