AEL in the Press | Daily Maverick – 18 Sep 2021

Unlocking Future Learning


The higher education sector is under pressure to broaden access. To help meet the government’s goal of more students by 2030, a radical shift is going to be necessary.


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“Alternative choices for students

Opportunities for students to obtain quality education from private institutions abound, says Professor Leopoldt van Huyssteen, the head and director of the Academy for Environmental Leadership SA (AEL), which offers a higher certificate in conservation ecology.

With this qualification, students can either undertake further studies or enter the job market as an environmental impact assessor or controller, or as a professional in a related position in, for example, the agriculture or mining sectors.

“It is a full-fledged qualification on grounds of which students can, after only one year of study, be employed in the workplace,” Van Huyssteen says.

Many AEL students use their year of study as an academic bridging year after which they go on to university studies in the fields of conservation ecology and agriculture, among others.

An average of nine out of every 10 AEL students have graduated for the past five years.

This pass rate was maintained in 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Jorisna Bonthuys is a freelance journalist.


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