Bomb Threats and the Paper Chase

Bomb Threat

The recent bomb threat at one of our universities and the continuous violence for the sake of violence makes one wonder how safe students are on campus.  It also makes one wonder whether it is not time for parents to consider alternatives where their children can at least get a tertiary education without having their person or lives threatened.

It is clear that Government and the universities are losing control of the situation.  Unfortunately, those students who have real needs are crowded out by opportunistic thugs who use a real issue for political and social gain.

Parents and students alike are at cross roads.  The question is whether a degree is worth a life and personal injury.  This country can no longer be held hostage by a few bad apples.  We are not unsympathetic to the plight of students who really cannot afford education fees.  We are against the fact that grown-ups act like two-year olds.  They destroy, threaten and intimidate to get a biggest sweet on the shelf.  And then they thank the shopkeeper by burning the shop and throwing the sweet away!

The behaviour of these thugs gives universities and their qualifications a bad name.  There are already many cynical voices about the fact that qualifications do not meet industry demands.  Now those same cynical voices ask how this generation of students and freshly ground graduates would behave in the workplace.  If there are bad apples who do not hesitate to burn libraries, make bomb threats, beat up fellow students, what could happen if these bad apples enter the workplace?

Industry and parents alike must reconsider whether university studies should not be replaced by alternative programs that can lead to a degree in any way.

The National Scarce Skills Agenda requires qualified personnel.  And if universities fail to guarantee student safety or if they fail to meet industry demands, alternatives must be pursued.  There is no more time to mollycoddle those who clearly demonstrate that they do not take the future of this country seriously.

A flag of a political party and a hackneyed socialist mantra is not an investment in the future.


Protest from Industry


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The recent protest actions about fees at mainstream universities expose many raw nerves in the national psyche.

There is no argument against the fact that some students really cannot afford the increase in class fees or registration fees. It would be morally wrong not to listen to those who have high potential to make a success of their studies but who simply cannot afford an increase in fees.  In our view, many of those who really cannot afford higher tuition, have excellent academic potential that could be stymied if studies become more unaffordable than it already is.

The other side of the coin is also true. Protesters who complain about fees in designer wear may need to reconsider their gripes.  If one can afford to spend three thousand Rand on a pair of shoes, instead of on a textbook or on class fees, there is really no reason to complain.

There seems to be a lot of truth in the old saying “who shouts the loudest offers the least”. Having spent many years in the education system, we have consistently observed how the loudest protester performs the worse in class.

Industry is starting to lose patience with the many avoidable factors that constrain our education system. Slowly but surely, industry questions the value of a degree stained by images of violence, burning property, mediocre marks and intolerance.  The case for education through learnership becomes an attractive option for those who want to study without disruption.  In addition, students and industry are starting to question the rationale of a degree in lower to mid-levels in an organisation.

Private FET providers – especially those linked with professional bodies maintain high required pass rates (between 60% and 80%) and industry is starting to take those solutions seriously.

To build an economy one has to burn midnight oil behind the books and not burn property.

Hospitality & Tourism Qualifications without Disruptions

Hospitality13Working professionals often find it hard to get a qualification or to upgrade a current qualification.  Work pressures make it difficult to attend classes.

Growth Institute now offers a flexible option to professionals in the Hospitality & Tourism Industry.

  1. We have recognition of prior learning options that takes in consideration experience and prior learning. Students can receive credits for some subjects with minimal administrative effort.
  2. Students receive all learning material in advance, and the get access to an electronic library where they can find additional resources.
  3. Some subjects require only an assignment and others are exam based only.
  4. We offer a seminar-style class intervention that requires students to come to only three lectures before an assignment or exam is due.
  5. Students are registered as members of a professional body and they can earn professional designations from the professional body.
  6. Students have access to international degree programs within the Commonwealth.

All qualifications are assessed and awarded by a professional body.  In addition, qualifications are recognised in major hotel brands and across the Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

Call Lynn Duke on 081 702 8022 for an appointment to start your studies today.


ball and chain

The statements by the Minister of Finance to increase VAT by one per cent from 1 April 2018, has been a worst kept secret.  It is clearly aimed at curbing expenditure in a bloated bureaucracy and it is an attempt to further an agenda of free education to the benefit of some first year students.

The Minister is silent about the plight of near graduates who could contribute to the economy far quicker than first year students would.  It is not a secret that the high fall out rate under first year students has been going on for many years.  It is estimated that that many as 60% of first year students leave campus before the final exams[1].

This high fall out costs the economy billions per year.  In pure business terms, one could refer to the dropout rate as an opportunity cost.  Moreover, no business in the world would tolerate an opportunity cost similar to what is associated with the student dropout rates.

It remains a social injustice to ignore the plight of the near graduate in favour of a first year student who could take as long as six years to complete a three-year qualification.

Government is quick to talk about skills scarcities and how skills development must receive priority attention.  If there is any substance in that view, then the plight of the near graduate must take priority.

During the last few days, it was announced that a life style audit is planned regarding to Government officials.  Such audit makes good sense if it would also focus on culling a bloated bureaucracy as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.

Unfortunately, taxation is an easy way to fund a spendthrift State.  One must wonder how much taxpayers can still take before the proverbial camel’s back is broken.


Congratulations Mr. President!

Time to Work

Many South Africans feel that they woke from a nightmare and that the morning is near.  Hearing that Mr. Ramaphosa wants to put South Africa first and that he wants to get people employed is viewed with cautious optimism.  Many South Africans still feel the sting of a hostile and selfish national leadership and it will take time to regain the people’s trust.

Mr. Ramaphosa is a businessperson and he understands how the economy is supposed to work.  He also understands that populism is not the way to gain investor confidence.  It is also common knowledge that Mr. Ramaphosa inherits a mess left behind by those who thought it best to put themselves ahead of the country.

It is very clear that Mr. Ramaphosa intends to right the ship and that he wants no stone left unturned to undo the rot that has set in over the last number of years.

One of the big headaches that the new President will have to deal with is how to handle the thousands of near-graduates who cannot get a qualification because they owe monies to the tertiary sector.

Near-graduates are defined as students who are in their final year of studies and who need three or less subjects to get a qualification.  They are also defined as those who have completed their studies but who cannot graduate because of outstanding study fees.  It will make sense to place an emphasis on the plight of these near-graduates who cannot enter the workplace because of their status.

In the greater scheme of things, the near graduate has a better chance to contribute to the economy than a first year who has high odds of failure stacked against him/her.  It is widely known that 75% or more of first years do not make it into the second year.  Many who do not progress into second year do not have sufficient marks to start the second year.  And many first years will not return to campus after the first semester for a variety of reasons.

Granted, some first years cannot progress into a second year due to a lack of funding.  They would need all the help they could get to graduate one day, and it makes sense that the State invests in their capability to make a contribution to the GDP after they graduated.

It would also make sense that the near graduates receive State funding so that they can get their qualifications and become valuable assets to the country’s growth.

The economy is a collection of theories of constraints.  Given the challenges we face to kick-start the country’s growth again, one must state that the near graduate can no longer be forgotten.

It is a gross social injustice to leave the near-graduates on their own.


High Achievers Should NOT Be Forgotten

Phahamisa Resized

06 February 2018.  Press Release: High Achievers Should NOT Be Forgotten

For Immediate Release

On Saturday, 27 January 2018, Growth Institute was a guest at the annual prize giving for the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy.  Thandulwazi started in 1991 at St Stithians Boys’ College.  This initiative aims to help learners from previously disadvantaged communities to improve their school marks.

Growth Institute attended the prize giving with mixed feelings.  There was jubilation because some of the Thandulwazi learners achieved two or more distinctions despite difficult circumstances.  There were also feelings of sadness because the majority of learners at Thandulwazi cannot afford to start a tertiary education career – despite very good Grade 12 results.

Growth Institute cannot sit back and do nothing about the fact that many Thandulwazi learners will not be able to further their studies.  The Directors at Growth Institute decided to launch Project Phahamisa (Sotho for “rise”) to help the Thandulwazi learners and others in the same position to start a tertiary career.

The first phase of Project Phahamisa will aim to assist learners in Grade 10, 11 and 12 to:

  • Identify which tertiary career they wish to pursue
  • Gain access to crowd funding options, bursaries, study loans, and other means to afford a tertiary education
  • Provide information about career choices in Business Management, Financial Accounting, Tourism & Hospitality, Office Administration, Entrepreneurship, Engineering and Medical Sciences
  • Raise an awareness about achievements by learners in previously disadvantaged communities

Subsequent phases of Project Phahamisa will focus in creating safe environments where learners can study and pursue careers of their choice.



Notes to editors:

Growth Institute is a private education provider offering a range of Commercial, Technical Tourism and Hospitality Management programs.


Issued by Growth Institute

For further information, contact:


Peter van Nieuwenhuizen

Tel: 011 534 8449 or 081 702 8873

Jacques de Villiers

Tel: 011 534 8449 or 083 282 0704

Lynn Duke

Tel: 011 534 8449 or 081 702 8022



Press Release: Bursaries for post-Matric students at the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy

Hand with pen pointing to Bursary word on the paper

26 January 2018 Press Release: Bursaries for post-Matric students at the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy

For Immediate Release
The Growth Institute announces that it will provide Grade 12 Learners (2017) who attended the Thandulwazi Saturday School, one of four programmes offered by the Thandulwazi Maths and Science Academy, with opportunities to register for qualifications in Financial Accounting, Business & Office Administration, or Hospitality & Tourism Management.

Mr. Jacques de Villiers, CEO of the Growth Institute, stated that the company would contribute 36% towards the tuition fees of every Thandulwazi Saturday School student, from the Matric Class of 2017, who plans to enroll at the Growth Institute in 2018.
“Our programs are recognised by a number of professional bodies. From their first day in class, we prepare our students to face the real world of work. Since the students are registered as members of a professional body early in their first year, they inherit a sense of responsibility and pride.”

“The Thandulwazi Saturday school has done sterling work since it started”, said Mrs. Lynn Duke, Director of Academics at the Growth Institute. “We are proud to give the Class of 2017 opportunities that they deserve. Our required pass mark on our programs is 60%. This means that industry can trust the calibre of student that passes our programmes.”

Initiated in 1991 at St Stithians Boys’ College, with only a handful of students from local township schools, over the last 12 years the Thandulwazi Saturday School has grown enormously in its impact and reach. Annually, over 1000 students, from 150 high schools across greater Gauteng, enroll for classes at the Thandulwazi Saturday School. All the students are drawn from historically disadvantaged communities and the gender breakdown is approximately 70% girls and 30% boys.

Incomplete Qualifications: The real elephants on the promotion ladder


A recent snap survey done by the Growth Group showed that more than half of employees have incomplete qualifications.  Some need only one subject to complete a qualification, but they never take action to do so.

There comes a time in anyone’s career where the lack of qualifications closes doors.  Employers are asking whether a person who does not finish a qualification can be trusted to follow through on important tasks in the workplace.

I.                   EMPLOYER ATTITUDE

Many high achievers in the workplace used all opportunities they had to get educated.  Some of the most influential managers in the world worked and studied at the same time.  These managers can testify that the sacrifices they made reaped huge rewards later in their lives.  They chose to reprioritise their lives for a short while so that they could complete their studies.

There are cases where staff would like to work and study but they find that the multi-tasking phenomenon makes it very hard to keep up with work pressure and study pressure.  They are faced with the classic “In my day” tale by employers who forget that the pace of work twenty or more years ago was not as demanding as it is today.

Fortunately, there are employers who choose to invest in their staff and who are willing to find ways and means for an employee to complete a qualification.

II.               FUNDING IS AN ISSUE

It is understandable that many do not have the financial means to complete a qualification.  In many cases, historical student debt bars individuals to enrol for the last few modules they need unless their debit at the college or university has been paid in full.  In addition, the rate at which student debt escalates each month does not help the situation at all.  In a recent case that came to our attention a student’s original debt of R 900-00 escalated to R 11 000-00 is three years!  There can be no justification for this sort of extortion.  Not all students know their rights and they do not know that there are channels through which they can contest such blatant escalation of debt.


A.                 FIRST, THE BAD NEWS

There are some programs – especially those endorsed by professional bodies, where students can switch from one college to another so that they can complete a qualification.  This is known as qualification transportability.  Because the exams are administered by the professional body and not by the college, it is possible for students to switch from a college where they have a substantial debt to another college that is associated with the professional body.

Qualification transportability (or college hopping) can get a student to obtain a qualification through a professional body whilst leaving behind a wake of debt that the college has to worry about.

College hopping, in an attempt to avoid historical study debt and still finishing with a qualification is, to say the least, a dangerous game.  It can quickly catch up with a student because colleges could use a vetting process to query a student’s status at a previous institution.

B.                 NOW, THE GOOD NEWS

If done correctly, qualification transportability is a powerful tool to finish a qualification.  There are many cases where persons moved from one town/province to another and could therefore not go back to the previous college.  There are also cases where students make a conscious decision to switch to another college.

In such cases, qualification transportability can benefit anyone who wishes to complete a specific qualification.

The ground rule is that the qualification’s assessment must be done by a professional body who has delegated the teaching of that qualification to more than one college.

Colleges who offer qualifications under the auspices of professional bodies are geared to help students complete the subjects they need to obtain a qualification.  More so, students can often obtain advice on the best possible options to get a qualification at a specific level.  Third, some colleges offer guidance programs to put students in contact with debt counsellors so that their historical debt can be addressed.


People in the workplace cannot afford to spend weeks or months in class so that they can get a qualification.

That was the main driving force why the Growth Group has designed the popular BootCamp© solution.  Students are expected to spend five full days in class for each subject that they wish to enrol for, after which they are ready to write the final exam.

The BootCamp© solution is ideally suited for someone who needs to complete three or less subjects so that they can finish a qualification.  It has been proven that a short sharp study focus rapidly followed by an exam, is more successful than a program that stretches over weeks or months.

V.                IN CONCLUSION

The contemporary workplace has no tolerance for a “Near Miss” mentality.  Employees who find all sorts of excuses why he/she cannot complete a qualification cannot blame the employer for missing a promotion.


The Growth Group offers professionally accredited programs in:

Business and Office Administration
Business Management
Financial Accounting
Hospitality and Tourism Management

Enquiries can be sent to

Tel: 011 534 8449; 081 702 8873

The Thorn of Free Education


There is a perpetual myth that public universities and colleges fleece students by making class fees as expensive as possible.  According to this myth, public universities and colleges are the apex of exploitative capitalism.

It might come as a shock to many to know that class fees represent roughly 30% of a public tertiary institution’s total income.  Another 40% of a public university’s income is derived from State funds, based on the throughput rates achieved by public universities and colleges.  The remaining 30% comes from the so-called Third Stream, and more specifically from private donations and from teaching specialised courses for corporates.

Announcements that public universities and colleges should not charge for class fees, means that someone else would have to make up the 30% revenue shortfall that would result from “Free Education.”

Looking specifically at the State’s 40% contribution, it may also come as a surprise that the State has decided to reduce undergraduate subsides in favour of post-graduate subsidies.  This means that there is less funds available for a first year or for any other undergraduate to start studies or to complete studies.

The State’s strategy to put an emphasis on post-graduate subsidies is not good news for undergraduates.  This means that undergraduates have to have counter-strategies in place to ensure that they continue to receive State Funding.  That counter-strategy is not to be found in uprisings and burning of campuses.  Instead, the counter-strategy must be to achieve better marks that will enable students to claim merit bursaries.

The argument is that not all students can achieve high marks because they come out of difficult circumstances where the school system failed them.  The answer to that argument is that private institutions draw students from the same recruiting pool that public universities and colleges use.  The answer is also that public tertiary institutions achieve an annual throughput rate of 20%, whereas private institutions achieve an annual throughput rate of more than 50%.

The fact that State subsidies for undergraduates are reduced in favour of post-graduates means that private institutions would have to ensure they have competitive pricing models available that will meet the demand for undergraduate studies in the near future.



Notes to editors:

Growth Institute is a private education provider offering a range of Commercial, Technical Tourism and Hospitality Management programs.


Issued by Growth Institute

For further information, contact:


Peter van Nieuwenhuizen

Tel: 011 534 8449 or 081 702 8873

Jacques de Villiers

Tel: 011 534 8449 or 083 282 0704

Lynn Duke

Tel: 011 534 8449 or 081 702 8022