College Assessment Exams

Organizing college assessment exams for residents

Throughout the project, we tried to figure out ways to improve the lives of individual community members by giving them an opportunity that they may not have been aware of before. After talking with co-researchers and community members, we learned that continuing education was a very important goal of some people. We contacted nearby False Bay College, Good Hope Campus to set up a meeting with ten community members from all sections of Monwabisi Park to find out more about financial aid and going back to school to finish their matric and beyond.

The Programme

False Bay offers a free assessment exam to anyone who signs up with proper qualifications. The student must have at least completed grade 8 (middle school). The assessment exam requires minimum scores in the math and English sections to return for an interview. The interview is scheduled to help determine a course of study. Afterwards, applicants must pay a R200 fee in order to continue with the registration process. The Good Hope Campus offers a wide range of targeted courses to meet local industry needs including hospitality, engineering and business courses.

National Certificate Vocational (NCV)

NCV is the new curriculum offered across South Africa. It gives students a vocational alternative to an academic matric, that will enable them to find relevant employment once qualified. It can be taken after one receives a matric in order to provide a more in-depth and hands-on material. There are a total of 10 NCV programmes. Some include:

  • Engineering & Related Design (Welding)
  • Engineering & Related Design (Motor)
  • Electrical Infrastructure Construction
  • Office Administration
  • Finance, Economics & Accounting
  • Information Technology & Computer Science

The duration for most programmes is 3 years full time with each year corresponding to a certificate at Levels 2, 3, and 4. All programmes require the student to have at least a Grade 9 or Level 1 equivalent. All NCV programmes consist of a fundamental learning component and a vocational component and comprises 130 credits on each level. The fundamental learning component is equivalent to the general “core” requirements. It comprises credits in language, mathematics and life orientation. This component is made up of 50 credits. The vocational component defines the qualification as being of a specific type. It consists of training that is relevant to the particular vocational field. This component is made up of four subjects at 20 credits each. Find out more at False Bay College’s website.

Financial Aid

Due to the financial restraints experienced by the residents of Monwabisi Park, the availability of bursaries and scholarships are crucial to ensure that they are able to continue their education. There is a specific bursary for the NCV programmes which covers the cost of registration, class fees, books, study materials, and practicals. Over 80% of the students in the NCV programme are on bursary. Residents of Monwabisi Park who are educationally qualified will likely get substantial financial assistance. The requirements are:

  • Ages 16-35
  • Entire household income cannot exceed an annual limit set by the Department of Education
  • Cannot fail a course and reapply for financial aid for the same course
  • Students must be accepted into a course and registered at the campus at the time of applying for a bursary

Community Response

The community members attending the meeting were enthusiastic about the opportunities presented to them. The ten community members attending the meeting all signed up for an exam. The next day, six members of B section went to False Bay College and signed up for a later exam.

Analysis and Conclusions

Certain members of the community were excited about this opportunity and took it very seriously. Others may not have because of the R200 fee, or because they simply were not ready to become seriously involved in school again. Out of the 16 applicants to sign up for the assessment, eight reported back to Buyiswa to say they took the exam. Out of the eight, three passed and scheduled an interview. Six reported that the test was very difficult. Three of them said that if they had not been out of school for so long they believe they would have passed the exam.


False Bay College  offers Monwabisi Park residents an opportunity, but there are a lot of challenges facing those who try to pursue it.  Poverty is considered a major at-risk factor for people to fail in school (Leroy & Symes, 2001). Some of the factors related to poverty that may place a person at-risk for academic failure are: very young, single or low educational level parents; unemployment; abuse and neglect; substance abuse; dangerous neighborhoods; homelessness; mobility; and exposure to inadequate or inappropriate educational experiences (Leroy). Many young adults in Monwabisi Park face these risks. The learning centre that is scheduled to be built at the Indlovu Project should offer a programme for people wishing to pursue further studies. The programme should extend beyond just educational support. It should teach study skills and provide positive reinforcement on people’s lives. It shows very good initiative of individual community members that they want to get back to school, but many of them will need support.

The connection that can be made in the future between False Bay College and Monwabisi Park should not be ignored. There may be future programmes False Bay College offers that will be of even better use to the community. The large opportunity for financial aid also makes the programmes offered very appealing.