Meet Sizwe Mkhwanazi: Left school at 14 and now a PhD scholar

Meet Sizwe Mkhwanazi: Left school at 14 and now a PhD scholar

- Sizwe Mkhwanazi took the bold decision to leave school at the age of 14 and studied office administration at a TVET College

- The 26-year-old’s gamble paid off as he is now studying for his PhD at Oxford University in the UK

- Mkhwanazi praised TVET colleges and feels graduates should be well remunerated

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Sizwe Mkhwanazi is a shining example of what can be achieved through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

At 14, he decided to leave school and enrol at the Gert Sibande TVET College in 2007.

More than a decade ago, the academic institution wasn’t well known and it was a huge gamble, but one that has paid off spectacularly.

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The TVET colleges provide training for specific jobs and skill sets but there still seems to be a stigma that exists.

Government aims to have 2.5 million students enrolled at TVET colleges, but the uptake has been slow.

City Press reported that only 780 000 students are currently enrolled at private and public colleges, compared to the 970 000 at Universities.

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However, Mkhwanazi’s story proves there is great potential for success.

He graduated with a certificate in office administration and was offered a job as a school clerk.

Mkhwanazi earned his small business management diploma at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2013.

This was closely followed by a B-Tech in management services and master’s degree in operations management at Oxford Brookes University.

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The 26-year-old is now studying for his PhD in education at Oxford University in the UK.

Mkhwanazi credits the TVET College for the part it played in his success and lauds the skills training.

Although there are areas for improvement, he doesn’t feel that TVET students should feel inferior to their university counterparts.

Mkhwanazi said, “The question is: How do we address this? TVET students do not have to feel as if they killed their academic ambitions.”

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