Are you looking to further your education and create better working opportunities for yourself but struggling to find the financial means to do so? Perhaps you should think of applying for a bursary. Currently in South Africa work is scarce and skilled workers are in great demand!
Bursaries are sponsorships given by companies to qualifying students to study further and achieve a great qualification for better work opportunities and a decent future.
What is a Bursary?
A bursary is a monetary award made by an institution to individuals or groups of people who cannot afford to pay full fees. It is a monetary award that is granted on the basis of financial need. This means that funds are made available by a company for a student who wants to study further and who qualifies can do so but moreover need the financial assistance to do this.
Bursaries are not the same as scholarships. Scholarships are merit-based and are awarded for academic achievement. Bursaries are financial-need based awards that do not have to be repaid with money. However some bursaries require that you ‘pay back’ your bursary by committing to work at your benefactors company for a period of time, usually for the same amount of time that the bursary was supplied for.
Work back your Bursary
However some bursaries require that you ‘pay back’ your bursary by committing to work at your benefactors company for a period of time, usually for the same amount of time that the bursary was supplied for. Not all bursaries have this requirement.
How to find a Bursary?
To help you get started and find the right bursary for you, here is list of sources and companies offering financial aid to students:
The Department of Higher Education is encouraging all students who recently passed their matric exams to think about continuing their education and training, and is promoting the numerous opportunities that are available to them. Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has stated that there is a catalog of opportunities available to the Class of 2013.
Apart form the existing higher education institutions, two new universities have opened their doors, one in Mpumalanga and one in the Northern Cape. There are also plans to build an open a further 12 Further Education Training (FET) colleges this year.
Given the higher pass rate of the Class of 2013, higher education institutions are expecting an increased demand for places in the post-school education and training system. Blade Nzimande stated that, “This significant increase in successful candidates with predominantly Bachelor and Diploma entrance National Senior Certificates will have implications for the Department in relation to enrollments within higher education institutions.
The Education Department is well aware of the fact that passing matric is a huge step in the live so of South African youth and is encouraging all them to think about continuing their education and look at the 400 000 opportunities available to them in the post-school education and training system, whig includes 25 universities, 50 FET colleges and 21 Sector Education and Training Authorities.
The following opportunities are available to students:
– 197 946 new entrant opportunities in universities;
– 23 000 Engineering and Business studies opportunities at FET colleges;
– 44 000 National Certificate Vocational programme opportunities at FET colleges;
– 10 000 artisanal opportunities at FET colleges.
Nzimande also mentioned that in collaboration with FET colleges, SETAs and employers, there are 93 000 occupational directed apprenticeship and learnership opportunities available and an additional 12 000 artisanal opportunities within the retail auto sector.
There are also more than 16 000 learnerships available from the various SETAs across the country. The Department of Education is making every effort to communicate these opportunities to students via various departmental career guidance initiatives and career festivals. The department in collaboration with the SABC also produced weekly short programs providing information ranging from career guidance and information s about universities and FET colleges.
Nzimande and the Department of education is calling on all students to to apply for further study opportunities. The department has set up a dedicated website and call centre to assist students. Students that cannot afford to call these centre are able to request the centre to call back via ‘please call me back’ messages.
Nzimande admitted that there was always more that could be done to assist students in their decisions to further their education and career guidance and that it is the goal of the department to place at least two career guidance councilors in all FET colleges across the country in 2014.
Challenges facing higher education system
Nzimande has reiterated that there are many challenges for the department when it comes to available space for students who wish to further their education and training. It is the aim of the government to expand the FET college sector as per the National Development Plan which requires that government produce at least 30 000 qualified artisans per year by 2030.
Bursaries, grants and student financial aid
Nzimande stated that the government has set aside R8.3-billion in financial aid for students to further their education and training. This year the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) will be assisting 205 000 students at universities and 215 000 students at FET colleges via student loans and bursaries. On top of that, a further R497 million will be available via the National Skills Fund for critical skills programmes that are needed for the growth of the economy.
In order to deal with lack of students punctuality and attendance at further education and training colleges (FET), the Department of Higher Education and Training is promulgating a new policy to improve the outcomes of colleges.
There is a current perception that FET colleges are merely dismal, glorified high school, and the department of education is now set new ground rules to improve upon the quality of training and education provided by FET colleges.
Over the past few hers, the department of education has implemented a number of programs to convert FET colleges into institutions of choice in order to combat the lack of scarce skills in the country. Interventions such the appointment of chartered accountants as financial directors and numerous short-term interventions to assist weak colleges. Also students who could not afford to pay for eduction have been provided with free eduction.
, stated that all policy changes will be coming into effect in 2014 in order to address the dismal attendance and functionality of students. Currently, 40% of all students either do not bother to attend class or are late for their classes.
The new policy change’s main objective is to further improve the FET sector and is a warning to those students who do not attend or are late for classes with the prospect of being denied the right to take their exams and any financial support.
“The department, therefore, expects public FET colleges to set and enforce this policy, and our students to comply with high levels of attendance and punctuality to improve their chances for success and prepare them for the professional culture of the workplace.,” Gwebinkundla Qonde stated in a media briefing.
Since 2010, student enrollment has risen over 90% from 345,566 to 657,690 last year. During the same period, government funding of FET colleges has risen from R3.9bn to R5.6bn this year.
The new policy changes announced by Gwebinkundla Qonde goes hand in hand with the turnaround strategy announced last by the Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande for FET colleges. The main emphasis of the turnaround strategy was for effective curriculum development, professional development of academic staff, partnerships and linkages as well as student support services.
The policy changes will permit students who have an attendance of at least 80% for each subject to write exams, and colleges will be required to verify and provide attendance information to the Department of Higher Education and Training. The verification and attendance registry will have to be provided prior to the handing out of examination entry permits to students at the start of an examination session. At the same time, students who receive bursaries for tuition, travel and accommodation will only be paid if they have a minimum of 80% attendance record.
In the case that a student is sick on a regular basis for a particular course, the lecturer will have the right to call in the student to review the status of the students, and if necessary stop all cash disbursements.
The new policy changes have been welcomes across the political spectrum with many politicians stating that these changes should have come in effect years ago and that it is a pity that the government has to resort to these types of actions. Once would expect students to take responsibility for their own education and self-discipline.
Mpumalanga Provincial Government is offering bursaries to grade 12 students to further their education in South Africa. The Mpumalanga Education Department is urging all students who require financial assistance to apply for bursaries to various universities within South Africa to so before 30 September 2013.
All students need to do to qualify for a bursary is to complete the application form which are available at the provincial government complex in Riverside Mall in Mbombela or any regional Education Department offices. Bursary application forms are also accessible via the education department’s website – CLICK HERE
The Mpumalanga Provincial Government Bursary Scheme for the 2014 is controlled by the local Mpumalanga Education Department. The local government centralized all bursaries and will administer all bursaries and application directly from the department.
All applicants for 2014 bursaries need to complete the application form and submit the following documentation:
Certified copies of their Grade 12 mid-year results if they are currently in Grade 12
Certified copies of their Grade 12 final certificate if they have completed Grade 12
Proof of residence
An acceptance or provisional acceptance letter or proof of registration from a higher education learning institution
Certified copy of their South African identity document
Proof of income of their parent(s) or guardian(s)
Proof of disability from a registered medical doctor or clinic/hospital (if applicable) and/or proof of indigent status.
Students are also encouraged to seek out other further education and training opportunities provided by the government in order to asset them to obtain a university qualification. Bursaries and other information for students who require financial assistance to further their education is available from Fundza Lushaka Bursary Fund and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has praised 2012 matric pupils and has encouraged all those students who failed to qualify for university enrollment to take into consideration alternative further education and training (FET) colleges and various other training options.
Between 2012 and 2015, the government is intending to invest somewhere around R6bn into university infrastructure development with the bulk going towards “historically disadvantaged” institutions.
Whilst there has been a good deal of celebration by students who not too long ago passed their matric exams, a number of issues have already been raised by numerous academics with regards to how universities will cater for new students. Nzimande mentioned that 180,000 will likely be be accepted into universities along with a further 100,000 who will enter FET colleges.
Recent statistics has revealed evidence that more than 270,000 have qualified for enrollment into higher education institutions, and approximately 135,000 will sign up for universities degrees.
Considering the high pass rate in 2012 along with the anticipated higher enrollment into university, Jeffrey Mabelebele, acting CEO of Higher Education South Africa who represents university leadership, has revealed that student enrollment will beyond doubt exceed the space available to cater to these students.
Prominent economist, Chris Hart, agrees that the Department of Basic Education has made significant efforts to boost education and training, nevertheless, the outcomes produced by the schooling system are still not consistent with the state’s investment in basic education.
“Things have improved, but it’s still nowhere near acceptable. Resources invested and results that come out still show that there is still a considerable waste. Countries that put in similar effort produce much, much better results.”- Hart stated
Hart believes that university alternatives for high school students are presently inadequate and incredibly difficult to access. He continued to express the view that alternatives to university are certainly not as good as in previous years. Even apprenticeships are considerably more difficult to access. In previous years, students who were not able to qualify for university entrance would automatically have alternative options. However, these days, finding an alternative option to university has grown to be significantly more challenging.
The department of education has stated that as part of the future infrastructure development and investment in education there is going to be a high priority for the physically challenged in conjunction with accommodation facilities for students.