Monday, 28 January 2013
Another 72 students will be able to go to university this year, thanks to generous bursaries from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The corporation views education as key to growing the country.
When Amanda Nxumalo told her mother that she had won a bursary from the IDC to study at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, she swooned.
"I have never seen my mother so happy in my life," said 18-year-old Nxumalo, who comes from Nkandla, fighting back tears as she relived one of the happiest days in her life. "I am also very, very happy to get the bursary. I am delighted."
Nxumalo is one of 72 students awarded bursaries by the IDC in 2013 as part of its corporate social investment programme. The bursaries will cover tuition fees, books, meals and accommodation for the duration of their studies at various South African universities.
The former Bizimali Secondary School learner was at a camp at the Heron Bridge Retreat in Nietgedacht on 23 January, where national bursary organisation Studietrust was conducting seminars on time management, goal setting, effective communication and stress management, among other things.
"I got to know about the IDC bursary scheme through my maths teacher, Mr Magwaza. He encouraged us to apply for bursaries and provided application forms for us to fill in and send to the IDC. This was last year in June," said Nxumalo. She had already applied to the University of KwaZulu-Natal and had been accepted.
Hard work pays off
Nxumalo said she had to work hard to make sure she got the best marks in her matric exams. And this hard work paid off when she scored four distinctions – in accountancy, economics, business studies and life orientation. "I was ecstatic. I knew I would have a chance to win a bursary."
And win she did. Nxumalo is now preparing for the rigours of university life and said she would be pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting. She also has a longer-term goal: after the three-year bachelor programme, she plans on doing her honours.
The Studietrust programme, which started on 21 January and ended on 24 January, would help her prepare for life at university, said Nxumalo. "I have learned that no matter how hard you fall, you can get up and achieve what you want to do. I also learned that it was important to not run away from your faults, but to confront and conquer them."
Studietrust manages the bursary programme on behalf of the IDC and offers in-depth support to the students in the form of arranging psychological services when and where needed, as well as counselling, workshops and seminars for success. Senior mentors also visit the students once a semester to offer emotional support in terms of encouragement, advice and suggestions of possible routes to take to solve any particular problem. The student's latest available results are discussed and analysed if necessary. Any problems students might be experiencing are also discussed. Studietrust also offers support to students in the form of an online forum and community.
"We develop a solid relationship with the students," said the project manager at Studietrust, Tracy September.
Tuition and accommodation fees
Ninenteen-year-old Mpho Maserumule is another happy student who won't have the burden of or be distracted by paying tuition and accommodation fees. She will be doing her second year as a Bachelor of Commerce in financial management student at the University of Pretoria, thanks to a bursary from the IDC.
"My father struggled to pay for my first year fees and we were wondering how I was going to finish the four-year programme. I was applying for bursaries frantically and the IDC came to my rescue."
When she got the news that she had won a bursary from the IDC, Maserumule said she was "overwhelmed" with happiness. "I was happy, overwhelmed. God had answered my prayers," she said. Her long-term goal was to be a chief financial officer, a job she said would help her family financially in the future.
The sky is the limit for Klerksdorp-born Lebogang Tau, who said he was "over the moon" when he heard that he had been chosen as one of the lucky students to receive a bursary from the IDC. "It was early December last year when I was walking around in Klerksdorp. I got a call on my cell that I had been selected as one of the recipients of an IDC bursary. It was one of the best days of my life."
Tau's parents were also ecstatic. They were still paying off huge loans they took out to cover university fees for his elder brother, he explained. The former Milner High School learner said he would be studying for a Bachelor of Science majoring in maths and computer science at Wits University. His wish was to invent "something new in the computer field" that would help his community back in Klerksdorp get better access to the internet.
Engineering and technology
Siphokazi Jacobs and Dirk-George Uys are other students who won't have to worry about paying tuition and accommodation fees for the next three to four years. Jacobs is from Port Elizabeth and is studying towards a national diploma in industrial engineering at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
"I will be doing my second year this year and I feel privileged to be a recipient of the bursary," she said. "I also want to purse a Bachelor of Technology after completing my diploma." After university, she wanted to work in the automotive industry in Port Elizabeth, but she also wanted to develop the entertainment industry in her township of Zwide, which she believed would help keep youth in the township out of mischief.
Among the group that took part in the Studietrust sessions, Uys was the only white person. The 19-year-old, soft-spoken students hails from Vereeniging and said he was "very, very excited" to get a bursary from the IDC. "I realised that the Lord is good to me," he said.
Uys will be doing his second year in 2013 as a Bachelor of Science in information technology student at North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus. He managed to scrap through his first year, thanks to money from a trust left for him by his mother.
"Obviously the money in the trust wasn't enough and I had to find alternative means to fund my university education. That's when I applied for an IDC bursary," he said. Uys scored excellent marks in his first year. His matric results were also excellent, and he got distinctions in accountancy, maths, business management and statistics.
New bursary students
The 72 new IDC bursary intakes would add to the existing 282 students that the corporation was supporting in 2013, according to its human capital divisional executive, Josephine Gaveni. She said the IDC saw education as one of the core areas to equip South African citizens with the necessary skills to grow the country.
Addressing the students, Gaveni said they were now part of the IDC family and encouraged them to find out more about the corporation. "Education is the only opportunity that can change your lives for the better. You have worked very hard to be where you are. As you go to university it is important to go back to what your objectives are. What we want from you is hard work and more hard work.
"I would like to congratulate you for winning your bursaries. I can assure you, you are in the right hands. I wish you well," she said.