What Are Community Colleges?


Community Colleges are education and training institutions that targets the youth and adults who have left school and wish to further their learning, improve their skills for employability and/or advancement to opportunities in TVET colleges and university education. Find out more on how they work!

Community Colleges in South Africa are known as Community Education and Training Colleges (CETCs). These colleges do not only provide learning opportunities for those who have left school but also provide an education to those people whose learning was negatively impacted by past and current social inequalities and poverty. The target group includes unemployed people, people who have lost their job and those who don't have skills that are in demand in the labour market. The skills that people develop from the programmes in these colleges help them to become more employable and helps them to create their own employment so that they can better their socio-economic positions in life. 


General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) in Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET): 

This programme provides adult learners with foundational skills and knowledge they can use to contribute to their community and/or partake in income-generating activities. This will also allow them to access further learning programmes with Grade 9 or Level 1 on the National Qualifications Framework as an entry requirement. These learners can choose to follow an academic or vocational specialisation in some of the following areas:

  • Applied Agriculture and Agricultural Technology,
  • Arts and Culture,
  • Ancillary Health Care,
  • Early Childhood Development (ECD),
  • Economic and Management Sciences,
  • Human and Social Sciences,
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT),
  • Natural Sciences,
  • Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and entrepreneurship,
  • Technology,
  • Travel and Tourism, or
  • Wholesale and Retail.


National Senior Certificate (NSC): 

The NSC is the school-leaving certificate on NQF Level 4, also known as the Grade 12 or the Matric certificate. This certificate allows learners to enroll for programmes at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges or universities, if their final grades meet the entry requirements for their programme of choice. 

National Senior Certificate for Adults:

This programme is similar to the NSC on NQF Level 4 described above, however it is designed to address the learning needs of adults.

Vocational programmes:

CETCs will offer programmes that are informal in a wide range of areas according to local needs and is linked to the local employment and community development opportunities. A number of the training programmes will be linked to the government's infrastructure development programme and social and economic development initiatives, such as Community Development Works Programmes (CDWPs), programmes for Community Development Workers (CDWs) and Community Health Workers (CHWs) and the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EDWPs). 

Short programmes will also be offered in the following areas:

  • Arts and crafts,
  • Civic and citizenship education, community mobilisation and organisation,
  • Consumer education,
  • Co-operatives and entrepreneurship,
  • HIV/AIDS education,
  • Home-based care,
  • Learner driver’s licence,
  • Life skills,
  • Parenting and child care,
  • Practical skills such as plumbing, construction, carpentry, electricity, welding, auto body repair and motor mechanics,
  • School Governing Body training,
  • Small-scale manufacturing, and
  • Voter Education.

Some of the programmes offered will be delivered in partnership with local TVET collges that already provide classroom-based and practical workshop-based learning. Other programmes will be delivered in collaboration government departments, local authorities and other public entities who are responsible for elevating and promoting small businesses and co-operatives. Partnerships can also be established with community-owned or private institutions.

Programmes are generally FREE as they are funded by the government, so everyone who is eligible is encouraged to apply and join.  


The following nine CETCs exist in each province of the country, with multiple campuses across each province: 

  • Free State Community Education and Training College
  • Gauteng Community Education and Training College
  • Eastern Cape Community Education and Training College
  • KwaZulu-Natal Community Education and Training College
  • Limpopo Community Education and Training College
  • Mpumalanga Community Education and Training College
  • Northern Cape Community Education and Training College
  • North West Region Community Education and Training College
  • Western Cape Community Education and Training College

For more information on CETCs click here 




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