Realities of a foundation programme implemented as a vehicle to align learners cognitively for entry into a national diploma in information and communication technology

  • LA du Plessis Director Teaching Development, Centre for Institutional Development, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
  • G Janse van Rensburg School of Educational Sciences, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  • CJ van Staden Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


The skills gap in formally trained black and coloured information and communication technology (ICT) professionals is in part a reflection of the social and historical injustices of past political policies. Furthermore, the current funding formula challenges higher education institutions to improve throughput rates, while providing a skilled labour force. The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) has experienced unacceptably low pass rates in the subject Programming I over five years (2000±2004). The VUT introduced an entry-level certificate in ICT during 2003 in order to widen access, to improve pass rates for Programming 1 and to provide articulation for a diversity of learners into the Higher Diploma in ICT. This article shows that access was indeed widened while the added curriculum had a positive impact on the learners' cognitive skills. Importantly, the results show that the English proficiency module had a positive correlation with the Programming 1 module, but that no significant correlation exists between the Mathematics module and the Programming 1 module.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 19(5) 2005: 863-879

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eISSN: 1011-3487