Fare thee well, sharp Bitou students
Report by: Timothy Twidle
THE Bitou 10 Foundation (B10F) and Bitou Community Education Trust (BCET) hosted a tea for their university bursars prior to the students departing Plettenberg Bay for the start of the academic year, on January 21.
BCET administers the disbursement of financial assistance, from a trust fund, to students who have achieved good results at secondary level, whereas B10F facilitates and works towards improving the quality of primary and secondary education throughout Bitou.
The 25 Bitou students – studying variously at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the Universities of Fort Hare, Stellenbosch and the Free State, the University of the Western Cape, and the Cape Peninsula and Durban Universities of Technology – have been awarded bursaries for the 2016 academic year.
BCET chair Andrew Smith addressed the gathering and explained how the Trust assisted students with the financial burden of fees and at the same time served as mentor and adviser to all recipients of grants.
Rosemary Murray, the doyenne and guiding spirit of education in the schools of Plett and environs for the past 25 years, made an impassioned speech.
“I wish you well and good luck for the future. When you have completed your studies at university come back to Bitou and contribute to the community and touch someone with the learning and knowledge that you will have gained, so that they too may live with purpose and resolve,” she said.
Mirick Arries of Plettenberg Bay Secondary School urged the undergraduates to take on the mantle of Rosemary Murray’s ethos and make life better for others, and B10F CEO Kim Weyer offered warm words of encouragement.
Said one of the bursars, Siyolisile Sidinana, who is going up to the University of the Western Cape to read law: “I feel nervous but at the same time I am excited. I am not sure what to expect; it is a new chapter in my life.”
Siphosethu Mani, a bursar in her third year of business management and economics at the University of Fort Hare, remarked: “It’s hard work but I am living my dream. I want to live a useful life and leave a legacy.”
CXPRESS wishes all bursars of B10F/BCET every success for the forthcoming academic year.
• Bitou Community Educational Trust was established in 2008 to support Bitou matriculants who would not be able to continue their studies at higher education institutions without financial assistance.
In 2015 the BCET established a partnership with B10F who now administers the bursaries and acts as liaison between the students, the higher education institutions, the BCET and John Bell Educational Trust.
Over 50 former students from Murray High, Plettenberg Bay Secondary, and Wittedrift High have benefitted from this initiative. With the help of the BCET, many bursary recipients have successfully graduated and are now working as professionals in their chosen fields.
In 2016, five of the 25 bursary students will be entering their first year of study, six students will move on to second year, 11 will enter their third year and three will be completing their fourth year of study.
Trustees of BCET provide mentoring to the students with the support of B10F staff. Both organisations are excited about this collaboration and enjoy working together on this critically important higher education and skills development programme.