Bursaries for Western Cape Students from Disadvantaged Communities

Association for Educational Transformation

Students from disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape have until the end of this month (October) to apply to the Association for Educational Transformation (ASSET) for bursary & educational and financial support during 2015.

The support will enable them to study, and ultimately find jobs.

ASSET offers two core programmes, one that offers bursaries and the other that offers a learner development programme. Both of these used to be run by the South African Institute of Race Relations in the Western Cape but have been under the auspices of ASSET for the past 11 years. ASSET is a non-profit non-governmental organisation that does what it can to offer educational opportunities in the form of bursaries for Western Cape students from what are known to be disadvantaged communities.

The ASSET Bursary Programme for Western Cape.

Originally established in 1972, the ASSET Bursary Programme gives matriculants much needed financial assistance so that they can apply to study at Western Cape tertiary institutions. The Association is supported by donations and able to help about 500 disadvantaged students every year.

The bursaries themselves vary, and relate to all South Africa’s Skills Education Training Authorities (SETAs), which gives successful candidates an excellent opportunity to further their skills. Generally the finance offered will cover a portion of tuition costs as well as a budget for buying books. Many students then raise loans through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to cover the costs of accommodation in hostels and the shortfall that is not covered by the bursary. ASSET is in partnership with NSFAS and so can help initiate and generate these loans.

As ASSET says in its website, this partnership enables them to offer loan packages “to cover their needs and to help more students than would otherwise be possible.” They also identify the fact that students who get bursaries are encouraged, if not forced, to take responsibility for a portion of the cost of their education. This is seen as an advantage.

Impact of NSFAS on Bursaries for Western Cape Students from Disadvantaged Communities

NSFAS is willing to give a 40 percent rebate to students who take loans and then pass all the courses that they take. Further, the loans are only repayable once the student who took the loan has been employed.

The Learner Development Programme

This programme has been developed to help learners who come from disadvantaged communities achieve full potential when they go to school. The key is that if they can do this, they are more likely to get access to some decent form of higher education and ultimately become employed.

Essentially the LDP aims to provide support, skills and content in the main subjects studied at schools so that the understanding and performance of learners will be improved. They also aim to help students improve their language skills and ultimately find a learning path that will result in a meaningful career.

Rather than offering financial assistance, this programme offers education, it is related to the ETDP SETA specifically in:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Maths literacy
  • Physical and life sciences
  • Accounting
  • Economics

Classes are held on Saturdays, and all the tutors are qualified subject specialists who are experienced in teaching their own particular subject.

There is also a Grade 11 programme that involves job shadowing, open days and motivational camps. They also have spring and winter schools and a number of other initiatives.

Go to ASSET’s website to apply for assistance.