Bursaries open doors of learning for Gauteng youth

Written by Samona Murugan
About 1 826 learners in Gauteng will be awarded bursaries esti- mated at R128 million to further their studies at higher education institutions, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced recently.

“Any nation that is serious about the growth and development of its economy ... will understand the value and significance of investing in education,” Mokonyane said at the presentation of the bursaries in Johan- nesburg.

For the 2013 academic year, more than 1 000 new beneficiaries have been awarded bursaries, which includes 459 young women for the new intake.

The bursary scheme was launched in 2008 with 1 500 disadvantaged youth in the province the first to benefit from it.

Since then the scheme has grown year after year, redirecting its efforts to specifically meet the needs of disadvantaged young people coming from no-fee paying schools, said Mokonyane.

The Premier added that by the 2010 academic year, the province was awarding bursaries to the value of R35 000 to each of the deserving students. This figure was meant to cover tuition, accommodation, books and meals.

Over the years, the value of the bursaries has increased and now stands at R50 000 in line with annual university increases.

“Since the inception of the programme, 6 915 beneficiaries have been awarded bursaries to study at institutions of higher learning, FET colleges and enrol in artisan programmes,” Mokonyane added.

Last year, the province achieved an 83.9 per cent matric pass rate with more than 28 000 of those who passed qualifying to study for a Bachelors degree.

“What it means is that there is an increase in the number of youth who require further education. Many of these have no access to resources needed to achieve this,” Mokonyane said.

As a result, an additional 566 students who completed matric in 2012 will benefit from the bursaries.