Analyses conducted by the Education, Science and Skills Development (ESSD) research programme
at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) reveal major areas of misalignment in the South
African education pathway system. The majority of learners entering Further Education and Training
(FET) colleges, nursing training institutions and learnerships have already achieved National Senior
Certificates prior to enrolment. Higher Education is seen as the only viable option for further learning,
contributing to the inverted triangle phenomenon in which a small FET college system is secondary
to a much larger Higher Education system which struggles to retain inadequately prepared students.
Against this background, this paper proposes a new model for student progression that broadens learning
opportunities at the intermediate level.