New R1m scholarships for SA’s poorest

10 January 2014

A R1-million scholarship programme to benefit poor students has been announced by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga and Professor Adam Habib, the vice- chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand.

The announcement was made in Johannesburg on Monday night, the day Motshekga released the official 2013 matric results.

The Equality Scholarships, worth about R100 000 each, will be awarded to the top 10 matriculants from Quintile 1 and 2 schools – demarcated schools in the poorest areas – who choose to attend Wits University, one of the country’s top universities based in Johannesburg.

The scholarships cover all tuition and residence fees, textbooks, food and a cost of living allowance. The students who qualify for these scholarships will be supported for the duration of their undergraduate degree, provided that they continue to excel, Wits said in a statement.

Talented learners

“The Wits Equality Scholarships in partnership with the Department of Basic Education have been developed to enable talented learners from disadvantaged communities to access quality higher education,” Motshekga said.

“This is one example of how government is partnering with higher education and other stakeholders to improve the lives of future generations, who in turn will help us to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.”

The minister said the Wits’ Equality Scholarships would help to transform the lives of talented learners who would otherwise not afford higher education costs.

Financial aid

Habib said Wits already administered about R500-million in financial aid and scholarships annually on behalf of the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme, corporates, private donors and other institutions.

“Over half of Wits’ students receive bursaries or financial aid in one form or another,” he said.

The programme would supplement the current Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships, awarded to the 10 best learners from all schools, and will enhance Wits’ current suite of equity programmes, which includes the Targeting Talent programme, the Bale Scholarship programme for young women, the Go to University to Succeed (GUTS) outreach campaign and the Leadership, Education and Development Programme (LEAD).