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The marketing of public FET colleges in South Africa: Issues for policy and practice

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Corporate author/s:

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC); University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN); Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA); and University of Nottingham

Person/s author/s:

Akoojee, Mahomed Salim Ahmed; McGrath, Simon


journal article



This paper considers the rising trend of introducing marketing practices into public education through the lens of South African further education and training colleges. It provides a review of the international literature on 'for-profit' and 'non-profit' marketing of products and services. It examines some of the key aspects that need to be considered in an education and training context for an effective, appropriate and relevant marketing and communication function to be established. In particular, the potential and limitations of concepts used in both the for-profit and non-profit contexts are re-examined together with some important insights into the existing literature on marketing in a post-school higher and further education context. It illustrates the conceptual complexity of using 'for-profit' notions in a 'non-profit' education context in light of the public purpose mandate of public sector institutions charged with a national development responsibility. It offers not only an alternative conceptual basis for establishment of marketing and communication functions in the South African Further Education and Training College context, but provides a discussion of its use in this context. It suggests that this discussion is of wider salience for those concerned with public education in South Africa.

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