Agency, access and barriers to post-school education: The TVET college pathway to further and higher learning

  • Zelda Groener University of the Western Cape
  • Priscilla Andrews
Keywords: Post-school education; technical and vocational education and training (TVET); further education and training; non-traditional students; adult learners; agency and structure; barriers to participation; access and success

Abstract

Student access to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and pathways into higher education are critical issues in South Africa. Powell and McGrath (2014) draw on theories of agency to explain why students access TVET colleges. Using sociological and social–psychological theories of agency, our study explores a theoretical perspective on student access to TVET colleges, their barriers, success, and aspirations to study at university. We selected a TVET college in the Western Cape as our research site and interviewed 30 students who had completed the National Certificate in Educare. Our analysis of the data shows that the students had enrolled at the TVET college as an alternative pathway when barriers prevented their access to universities. Evidence shows that they also encountered barriers during the course of their studies but that, despite these barriers, their desire to study at university persisted. Theoretical insights derived from the empirical evidence suggest that student success at TVET colleges may provide them with prior learning and practical work experience in order to gain access to universities.

Author Biographies

Zelda Groener, University of the Western Cape

Zelda Groener is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Cape Town. She coordinates a research project funded by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the European Union (EU) which focuses on Access, Barriers to Participation and Success in Post-School Education in South Africa. She also coordinates the Master’s in Adult Learning and Global Change which is taught collaboratively with the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Linkoping University.

Priscilla Andrews

Priscilla Andrews is a Lecturer at Northlink College where she teaches the NATED course in Early Childhood Development. She enjoys educating and mentoring prospective ECD teachers, trying to cultivate the same passion for teaching in them. She is registered for the Master’s degree in Adult Learning and Global Change at the University of the Western Cape.

Published
2019-11-20
How to Cite
Groener, Z., & Andrews, P. (2019). Agency, access and barriers to post-school education: The TVET college pathway to further and higher learning. Journal of Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training, 2(2), 43. https://doi.org/10.14426/jovacet.v2i2.71
Section
Articles