Boost for Rural Tertiary Education and Community Learners
John Taolo Gaetsewe District, November 2023
Recognizing the critical role that technical colleges play in providing access to tertiary education, for students from remote areas of the country, a funding and development programme has been announced. This intervention is set to provide extensive study bursaries to a cohort of over 40 students, with future plans in place to address infrastructure support, to assist with power interruptions.
This programme follows a needs analysis undertaken by Kathu Solar Park, which identified the areas of support to help improve the tertiary education and the teaching environment within the Northern Cape’s John Taolo Gaetsewe District communities of Kuruman, Kathu and other surrounding villages.
“Our research revealed that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges fulfil an important role within the tertiary education offering within these remote communities and that the quality of education and students learning experience is being hindered by the lack of access for student funding and the rolling power-outages,” commented Cheryl Persensie Economic Development Manager for Kathu Solar Park.
The programme’s study bursary funding aims to support the ‘missing middle students’, categorized as those who don’t qualify for funding from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. The programme funds students who have not been able to secure any financial support for their studies for the 2023 academic year, with 45 students identified.
The Kathu Solar Park’s KSP bursary funding for TVET students, extends to incorporates the timeframe that it takes for students to complete their respective qualifications, with the following criteria for considered for this financial support:
- Students not funded by National Student Financial Aid Scheme, or any other funders,
- Income of parents must be below R400 000, 00 per year,
- Academically progressive student, and
- Meet the continuing student academic eligibility requirements.
“We have clear indicators that will be used to track the implementation of the programme, this includes number of students supported with tuition and thereby able to continue their studies, the number of teaching hours increased because of decrease in power disruption; and finally financial savings benefitting each family not having to fund their student’s academic year,” concluded Persensie.
The programme provides bursary to South African students who want to further their studies in TVET that is eligible for funding:
- Students must be formally registered to study for an approved funded qualification
- The financial needs of the students are assessed at the point of first application
- Returning students that move from through funder funding, academic must re apply and meet the continuing student academic eligibility requirements.
- Financial support granted must be distributed for tuition in the first instance then accommodation, then other allowance.
- A student that no longer complies with the TVET N+ rule may not be funded
- Students who have already studied at the University or obtained University Qualification do not qualify as TVET students even if they are entering first academic year