More than 1 700 successful 2011 matriculants from impoverished and under-performing Gauteng schools on Tuesday shared R120m in bursaries – all thanks to the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).
Speaking at the bursary hand-over ceremony at the Turffontein Race Course, a beaming Premier Nomvula Mokonyane expressed her happiness that of the total 1 703 recipients, 1200 are girl learners.
Mokonyane praised the Gauteng City Region Academy bursary beneficiaries for their hard work and dedication.
“Had it not been because of your (recipients’) commitment; we would not be here today. The GPG wants to drive a knowledge-based economy which demands a different set of skills and capacity,” she said.
She added that the financial support they were receiving came with a package aimed at instilling discipline.
“The Academy will not pay for failed subjects as well as those who failed completely and require re-registration.
“Bursars are expected to do community service from their second year of study in any government institution as approved by the academy,” said Mokonyane.
She said the GPG believed it was about time that energies be put to improve the education of the South African child.
Speaking at the same event, Education MEC, Barbara Creecy, said all the learners came from township, underperforming and no paying schools which were sometimes called “a lost generation”.
“These young people have travelled a very hard road against pre-determination of what their future should have been,” said Creecy.
Learners who gave up their Saturdays, dared the cold winter and said we are giving our attention to our studies, she said.
“In this world, only one person can ever change you and that is yourself. Invest in yourself,” she advised.
Relating her success story and being a bursary beneficiary herself, Zanele Mabena, a third year in BA International Studies student at the University of Pretoria, advised fellow learners to at least set aside three or four years of their lives and concentrate on their studies.
“It is doable. Take this opportunity and run with it like Caster Semenya on the tracks.
“Do not take this for granted. Four years is all it takes,” she said.