What Is The Difference Between TVET Colleges And Community Colleges?

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South Africans wanting to further their education have many options, including TVET Colleges and Community Colleges. But what are the difference between these two types of colleges?

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Thinking about taking the next step in your education but feeling overwhelmed by the options?

Many future students grapple with the distinction between TVET colleges and community colleges. Both offer exciting possibilities, but understanding their unique focuses can help you pick the right path for your goals. 

This article breaks down the key differences between TVET colleges and community colleges.

What is a TVET College?

TVET Colleges refer to Technical Vocational and Educational Training (TVET) Colleges. There are 50 TVET Colleges in South Africa.

These Colleges focus on vocational and occupational education and training with the aim of preparing students to become functional workers in a skilled trade. TVET Colleges combine education, training, and skills development.

TVET colleges focus on providing hands-on training and practical skills in various fields. Young people should consider technical vocational education if they find they are more comfortable at this type of learning than they are with more academic learning.

Examples of TVET College Courses

  • National Certificate
  • National Certificate (Vocational)
  • National N Diploma

These courses are offered in various different fields including Business Studies, Engineering, Hospitality, Tourism, Office Administration and many more.

What is a Community College?

Community colleges refer to Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges in South Africa and are there to assist young people who currently do not attend school. They play a critical role in providing post-school opportunities for adults.

The establishment of community education and training colleges in South Africa was driven by the need to provide opportunities for post-school youth and adults who seek to enhance their educational foundation and improve their employability skills. 

It also allows them to pursue further learning pathways including entry into Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and universities

These colleges cater to individuals who may not initially qualify for admission to traditional higher education institutions, offering them a supportive environment to develop essential skills and qualifications for personal and professional advancement.

Examples of Community College Courses

The qualification obtained at CET Colleges is the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC) in Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET). This is offered 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.

Other qualifications you can obtain at a CET College include National Senior Certificate (NSC), NSC for Adults and Vocational Programmes.

So what's the difference?

The main difference between TVET Colleges and Community Colleges is the qualification you obtain at these Colleges. While the one targets young people who are yet to finish their schooling, the other looks at people who have been out of school for a while.

Also, someone who attends a Community College will not be able to attend a TVET College due to not having the education level needed. Someone who attends a Community College will study so that they could progress to a TVET College or University.

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