A model to reduce the divide between South African secondary institutional skills and knowledge, and the entrance requirements for an information technology diploma course

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Baxter, Roger
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Historically, access to information technology (IT) in South Africa educational institutions has been socially stratified. As a result, many new learners seeking to enter South African tertiary institutions fail to meet the requirements of their preferred course and institution. In 2003, the Department of Information and Corrununications Technology at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), in conjunction with the National Institute for Information Technology (NIIT), an internationally recognised IT organisation, introduced a short course named the Information Technology Boot Camp (ITBC). This course is now known as the Introduction to Information Technology course (Intro-to-IT). The course is targeted at learners who want to study the IT diploma at the VUT but, who as a result of their Matriculation marks, do not meet the VUT's entrance requirements. The aim of the course is to prepare and qualify these learners for possible acceptance into the IT diploma at the VUT. Although the Intro-to-IT course has impacted positively on the VUT, research has found that learners progressing from the Intro-to-IT course into the IT diploma course experience difficulties in solving programming problems in a logical way. Therefore, the failure rate in Development Software I, a first-semester programming subject, is relatively high. The model described in this study encompasses alterations (implemented and still to be implemented) to the syllabus and content of the Intro-to-IT course, changes to the learning methods and time frames for subjects, and the measurement of these changes in comparison to previous results. The model also includes a software program, which will assess the Intro-to-IT applicants, store results and provide analytical data on all learners' marks and results for the Intro-to-IT short course at the VUT. This model is designed to provide the necessary skills, knowledge and basic logic required to allow successful Intro-to-IT learners the opportunity of success when they enter the VUT's IT diploma stream.
M. Tech. (Information and communication technology, Faculty of Applied and computer sciences), Vaal University of Technology
Information technology education, IT diploma