Financial Planners benefit from articulation programme

21 November 2014 Sandra Dunn, INSETA
Sandra Dunn, INSETA’s CEO.

Sandra Dunn, INSETA’s CEO.

Boland College's crop of

Boland College's crop of "Articulation" graduates who attended the FETI-HETI graduation ceremony that was held in Cape Town recently.

The insurance industry has benefited from the first articulation programme in SA which enables learners who do not meet university entrance criteria to achieve a university qualification. The learners are typically employed in the insurance industry and working in the financial planning field. The qualifications that they achieve through the articulation programme enable them to obtain professional designations from the Financial Planning Institute (FPI). INSETA provides the programme funding for the learners to achieve two qualifications as part of the articulated career pathway from college to university.

Sandra Dunn INSETA’s CEO congratulated the second group of students who graduated on 15 October 2014. The first group graduated in 2012, and a number of them are now enrolled for the advanced course at university. Financial Planning is a scarce and critical skill in the insurance sector. Typically workers in the insurance industry who want to advance themselves would experience a barrier to entering the financial planning profession because they do not qualify for university admission. In 2011, INSETA, together with the University of the Western Cape, the Further Education and Training Institute (FETI) and the FPI pioneered the first Articulation project in SA to address these barriers and increase the number of qualified financial planners.

The graduation was held at the Belmont Square in Cape Town, where 67 graduates received their certificates in Wealth Management. The following colleges participated in the programme:

• Boland College
• College of Cape Town
• False Bay College
• North Link College
• South Cape College

Prof Joy Papier, Director of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) Institute of Post School studies, delivered the key note address at the graduation. She commended the five colleges that delivered the Level 5 Wealth Management programme which was traditionally considered to be the domain of universities. She further remarked that the achievement should be of great interest nationally as it also ties into one of the other concepts in the White Paper … that of differentiation. The idea here is that all colleges need not offer the exact same range of courses, but that colleges should consider what their expertise is, their staff capacities, their target markets and so on, to decide on what programmes they are best suited to offer. We know that the higher education sector will not expand dramatically over the next few years. Therefore, it is unlikely that universities will be able to massify and absorb the large numbers of those who want higher education. Expansion is considered likely to occur in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges, including at levels 5 and perhaps 6, where colleges that have the necessary capacities can offer higher certificates with the quality assurance oversight of universities. This is a critical area for many of our matriculants unable to access universities due to pressure of numbers. Universities are urged to give access to more learners from TVET colleges, but how do they do this when annually there are numbers of National Senior Certificate (NSC) school leavers knocking at their doors? Part of the solution could be in allowing colleges to offer university level programmes, where they have the capacities to do so.”

Also speaking at the graduation and addressing the current key Articulation debates, Seamus Needham Project Manager of the UWC FET Institute said, “Where this project has succeeded is that this is one of the very few examples in South Africa of specific articulation between TVET Colleges and a research university that allows for direct progression from an NQF level 5 Certificate in Wealth Management at colleges to an NQF level 7 Advanced Diploma in Management Studies: Financial Planning. The achievement of the NQF level 7 Advanced Diploma is recognised by both UWC and the University of Stellenbosch as an entrance to their respective Postgraduate Diplomas in Financial Planning at NQF level 8. Most other articulation projects simply allow for access into a university instead of recognising a higher education qualification delivered by TVET Colleges.”

Needham further explained, “The NQF calls for flexible systems allowing for access, mobility, and progression in the system through the articulation and portability of credits and qualifications, the recognition of learning acquired in different ways, the provision of guidance and the establishment of acceleration mechanisms for the redress of past unfair discrimination. Qualifications and standards would be expected to be designed in a way that ensures that they do not lead learners to a dead end; that they allow for continued learning and for improved employment opportunities. Learning provision would be expected to ensure that learning is a process of building knowledge and skills.”

Needham who was also a member of the Higher Education Ministerial Committee tasked in 2013 to develop an Articulation Policy said Articulation does not work well in South Africa’s education and training system. “Learners cannot enter programmes that they want to do if their Matric mark is not good enough. Skills programmes and learnerships based on unit standards based material do not articulate with undergraduate degrees. “

Whereas this project is a great example of specific articulation between TVET colleges and universities, it has not succeeded is in shifting systemic articulation debates – this means that Articulation has not yet become part of the institutional (statutory, regulatory and otherwise) fabric of SA’s education system Needham concluded.

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