Tens of millions of rands will be paid out in grants this year by the Gauteng provincial government, which said it would allocate R58-million in bursaries for learners coming from quintile one, two and three schools in 2011.
These schools are state-subsidised and are non-fee paying. They are categorised according to the poverty score of the school. There are five categories in all.
“It starts here,” said Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane while handing over 1 050 bursaries to top performing learners on Tuesday, 1 February at Turbine Hall in Newtown. The R58-million would help students entering universities; there would also be 500 bursaries for those going into artisanship and further education and training colleges (FETs).
She said students from FET colleges would receive R15 000 each.
The provincial government’s partnership with Gauteng City Region Academy (GCRA) would help fill the gap of skills shortage. “A few years ago, we launched the Gauteng City Region Academy to help us with skilling residents so that we acquire the necessary skills to power our dream going forward.”
Launched in 2008, the GCRA was aimed at equipping provincial government officials with relevant skills. In 2009, the academy launched a bursary scheme to empower young people in Gauteng by providing them with quality education.
Mokonyane pointed out that the provincial government had invested R30-million in the GCRA to ensure Gauteng moved a step closer to achieving its goal of becoming a globally competitive city region
She noted the progress made by the provincial government, but added: “We are aware that we still have a long way to go in ensuring that our people have the skills that are required by our economy. These bursaries demonstrate our commitment to education, especially the education of the African child remains a key priority as we continue to transform our society and economy.
“It is a well-known fact that the high levels of poverty and escalating costs of living also contribute immensely towards denying our economy the relevant skills it requires.”
She said the provincial government was working to break the cycle of poverty that was denying young people access to education.
The chief executive of the academy, Sindiswa Lingela, encouraged all the learners present at the ceremony to use the opportunity fruitfully.
“You are lucky to be young people living in South Africa today with a choice of becoming whatever that you desire to be. The world is your stage and the time has come to live your dreams and always remember how hard the youth of 1976 fought to ensure that you and I enjoy the fruits of living in a democratic South Africa.”
Lingela said the GCRA was working with FET colleges and universities to ensure young people got quality education and the skills needed to fill the skills shortage gap, as well as the relevant skills that would accelerate the economy of Gauteng.
One of the bursary recipients was Francois du Toit, a disabled learner from Murrel Brand High School in Boksburg, on the East Rand.
“It is a blessing indeed that I am one of the 1 050 students who were selected for the bursary because I don’t have to worry anymore about paying university tuition fees,” he said. “I am not sure what to study but I will register with the University of Johannesburg.”
Karabo Mohlaka, a second-year communication student at Monash University; Lerato Kunupi, a first-year student in industrial psychology at the University of Johannesburg; and Tshegofatso Lebudi, a third-year student in quantity surveying at the same university, said applying for a GCRA bursary was simple and effective.
They all said they simply went to the GCRA offices and applied for a bursary. Within a couple of months of completing their matric exams, the office called to say they had got a bursary.
Source – Joburg – by Kgopi Mabotja