“With higher education registrations coming in thick and fast, clear trends are starting to emerge on which fields are finding favour with the Class of 2017, and how these future students intend to empower themselves to face the challenges of the South African economy,” says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest private higher education provider.
“There are also interesting comparisons to be made when looking at which qualifications have significantly increased in popularity from the year before,” he says.
Kriel says the most notable trend was the almost doubling in registrations for Higher Certificates in Business Management.
“A first Business Management qualification provides a good grounding for students, enabling them to enter many fields, whether in the corporate world or entrepreneurial ventures,” he says.
“Aspiring entrepreneurs are increasingly recognising the need for understanding broad business principles, realising that great ideas need to be backed by strategy, planning and execution that take into account the realities of the business and regulatory environment.”
Additionally, with the backing of a Business qualification, entrepreneurs gain added credibility, which is important when approaching potential partners and investors, he says.
Initial Business qualifications are also valuable to those school leavers who know they want to go into business, but who are unsure about exactly which discipline or area of specialisation they want to pursue.
Another qualification showing exponential growth is the BCom Law & Business Administration degree, says Kriel.
He says the BBA is a qualification which allows students to enter the complex world where business administration meets corporate governance, and that qualified professionals in this field are in high demand.
“With this qualification combo, there is a focus specifically on administration and management of an organisation which prepare students to become managers at the various levels of organisations. It teaches students to apply their creative problem solving skills and showcase their leadership and management capabilities within the business environment.
“These students are the future leaders of SA business,” he says.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Bachelor of Public Administration degree is also showing unprecedented growth.
“Students studying towards a Bachelor of Public Administration are the ones who go on to fill key roles in the public sector, where there will always be a demand for ethical and competent leadership,” says Kriel.
Meanwhile, many current students are also opting to further their studies beyond their initial business or management qualifications, notes Kriel.
“There has been a sharp rise in applications for the BCom Honours in Management,” he says.
“Given the day and age that we are living in, people find it more and more valuable to extend their studies into the post-graduate environment. Studying into the post-graduate space allows you not only to become more specialised within your field of study, but also affords you the opportunity to add to your specific skills set and make you more employable.”