The leaders of tomorrow.
The world is getting younger and more complicated.
Change is a constant. To be young now is a challenge and it behooves all to help build the bridges that will take today's youth into tomorrow's mature world.
South Africa is in dire need of better and more affordable education for its youth – this requires appropriate funding. Our country needs skilled individuals to realise our broader economic development goals. Educational funding mechanisms must ensure they support growth in student numbers to meet these goals.
In addition to providing the necessary skills to drive the development of the country, universities are also tasked with conducting research that has significant benefit for the public. Universities must address the research needs of South Africa, ranging from economic and industrial development to infrastructure development. Any funding mechanism therefore must also ensure that this important research function is supported. Scholarships and bursaries can play an important part in helping realise the goals set out in the National Development Plan (NDP). The shortage of funding has meant that corporate citizens need to come forward to assist with funding for deserving students. With its well-established educational support policies, SANRAL funds learners and students in secondary schools and universities.
Scholarships and bursaries help students who are unable to finance their own studies. There should be no financial barriers preventing access to higher education at any of our country's universities. SANRAL's scholarships, which are awarded on merit, create a pool of high school learners who can in future provide the engineering knowledge the agency needs, along with other organisations responsible for the national mandate of infrastructure development. But we're casting our net wider these days. Our CEO, Skhumbuzo Macozoma, has suggested the agency's bursary and scholarship programmes shift their focus – from exclusively developing a pipeline for engineering skills to the advancement of maths, physics and science in general, with the aim of cultivating learners who will qualify for university entrance.
With R12.8m spent in the 2016/17 financial year on students in universities and secondary schools, SANRAL is continuing to support the development of South Africa's human capital through tertiary institutions. The bursaries and scholarships form part of SANRAL's plan to help address the country's skills gap. The majority of South African students are in financial need, which is exacerbated by high unemployment rates. Entities such SANRAL create a safety net that allows well-performing students to obtain tertiary education, which stimulates growth, infrastructure development and the economy.
The provision of scholarships and bursaries is not only a direct investment in the life of a student, but an investment in the economic and social future of a country. Following in the footsteps of liberator Nelson Mandela, the agency focuses much of its developmental resources on educational and training initiatives. Madiba emphasised the importance of educating the youth, encouraging young people to "take it upon themselves to ensure that they receive the highest education possible".
Nelson Mandela eschewed the lack of investment of education. For its part Inspired by Mandela's call to "make every home – every shack – a centre of learning, SANRAL's Technical Excellence Academy in Port Elizabeth offers students practical experience required to be a professional engineer.
SANRAL continues to go beyond roads by empowering the youth; and sharing Mandela's sentiment of education being the "most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world".
Heidi Harper is the Corporate Services Executive of SANRAL
SANRAL's contribution to education in South Africa is undeniable. In the reporting year 2016/2017, we allocated R7.5m to provide bursaries to 122 young people interested in civil engineering and disciplines related to the built environment across the country.
During 2016/2017, SANRAL made an investment of R3m and supported 196 learners across the country. The performance of these learners was impressive: 57% obtained distinctions in mathematics and 51% in physical science.
Soft-spoken scholarship recipient Khanyisile Nkosi (in Grade 12 at the time), lives in Gauteng. Her uncle, a doctor, suggested that she apply for the scholarship. The scholarship helped her pay for extra subjects offered in her high school's curriculum. This exposed Khanyi to a wider variety of subjects and broadens her career prospects.
SANRAL's scholarship programme is not exclusively for pupils who are dead-set on a career in the infrastructure sector. It is the agency's way of giving back to the community, not just creating future engineers. Khanyi says she's still deciding on whether to study medicine or accounting when she gets to university. She's not particularly keen on engineering. "But I do admire the value the engineering industry adds to our daily lives," she says.
"In my own way, I want to contribute and make a change in people's lives too."
Ten years from now, Khanyi wants to be a qualified doctor and is interested in studying further towards a speciality.
SANRAL scholarship recipient Hlumela Mngomezulu has big dreams. The Kearsney College Grade 11 student (at the time) wants to land a good job so he can help underprivileged students. Hlumela, who loves maths and physics, was raised in Mtubatuba. He was encouraged by the school bursar to apply for the SANRAL scholarship.
"SANRAL provided me with funding for fees, uniform, books and sports jerseys.
This has helped a lot. I'm so grateful for the support they've given me to pursue my dreams," he says. "My goal is to pursue a career in actuarial science at the University of Cape Town. Professionals in this field earn a good income. My wish is to help underprivileged people to achieve their career goals."
Uitenhage-born Adrian Leibbrandt wants to be an electrical engineer. He completed Matric as part of the Class of 2016 at Daniel Pienaar High School. This SANRAL scholarship recipient says the agency's programme has taken a huge financial burden off his parents.
"I was introduced to the scholarship by my maths teacher. I applied immediately and was awarded the bursary. My parents have been struggling financially for the past few years," says Adrian.
In the next 10 years, Adrian wants to be a qualified engineer.
"Different things motivate different people. My motivation is Nelson Mandela.
He sacrificed his life for the people of South Africa. He established the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and contributed a part of his salary to the organisation. He put the needs of this country before his own. It is my passion to make people's lives better."
When he's not studying, Adrian plays cricket. He's good at it and has represented the Eastern Cape for several years.
Luzuko Jack is realising his dream of studying in the engineering industry thanks to a SANRAL scholarship. Luzuko, who matriculated in 2016 from Victoria Park High School aims to study Mechatronics at the University of Cape Town next year. Luzuko joined the Nelson Mandela University's (NMU) Science, Technology, Engineering and Related Management/Mathematics (STEM) Fields Pipeline Project in Port Elizabeth in Grade 11. It was while at the STEM classes that he learned about the scholarship programme.
"I will be the first one in my family to study in this field. I am very proud of myself.
I have a passion for technology and I hope to use mechatronics and technology to benefit South Africa one day.
"I recommend people study after high school, even if the pressures of studying are too great. Once you have Åyour degree you will reap the rewards and you will be able to make the world a better place by contributing your knowledge and applying your passion."
Luzuko looks up to his big sister who ensures that their family of six never goes to bed on an empty stomach. "I will always be grateful for that, she has managed to keep the family together and happy. I admire her for that. I hope to do just as she has one day."
"Understanding basic ecology and how the earth works is most important and helps learners to understand so many other things – the basic values of life," says Antonia Mkhabela. Since 1991 she has been a teacher at Shea O'Connor school, for over 15 years filling the role of vice principal – and environmental champion.
Inspired by examiners reports on poor performance among learners in environmental studies, Antonia set out to explore the challenges in the environmental learning process. Recently, she completed her Masters Degree in Education – focused on the of sustainability competencies in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Caps) Life Science curriculum and investigating the teaching methods and assessment practices. Her work was informed by the concepts of justice, equality, responsibility, and a deep love of nature.
The school yard provides many learning opportunities. "While the lessons that form part of them curriculum are important, learners' outcomes are not assessed in a single year, but over a period of time. "In our school, I can clearly observe the changed attitudes learners have to environmental issues. This year, our Enviro Club has almost 100 members!" Clearly, Antonia is an inspiring teacher.
Learners call her subject ‘Makoya' meaning
‘the real subject!'
Antonia's studies have been sponsored by N3 Toll Concession (N3TC). Commercial Manager Con Roux is overjoyed and so proud of her achievements. "Antonia is a remarkable person and such an inspiration. She overcame so much and dug so deep, just for the sake of the children she teaches. Exceptional."
Lutho Msutwana from Idutywa in the Eastern Cape. "The bursary opened a new life full of possibilities," says Lutho, who learnt about the SANRAL bursary while pursuing his studies at Nelson Mandela University (NMU). "SANRAL's response was so welcoming during the application process." The bursary will pay for his studies and includes registration, tuition, book allowance, accommodation/travelling, living allowance, vacation work and meals. Lutho is a BSc civil engineering student at the University of the Witwatersrand.
He says he knows first-hand how learners with no career guidance can be at a disadvantage. "This is what motivated me to start an non-government organisation (NGO) that focuses on career guidance in rural areas." The NGO, Save A Learner's Future (Salf), is based in the Eastern Cape and was founded by Lutho and Simbulele Gonyela about four years ago. It aims to facilitate the participation of the rural areas in the mainstream education system. Its tasks include tutoring, assisting in applications to higher institutions, bursary applications and career guidance.
The NGO makes sense. Lutho is the first in his family to attend a highly recognised institution.
"None of my elders ever had an opportunity to attend a higher institution. We are the first generation at home to have such a chance at education."
Devon Anyster hails from Worcester in the Breede Valley and he comes from a family of educators. Both his parents teach at secondary schools in the town. From a young age, his parents taught him that hard work paves the way to success. Devon says his favourite subjects in high school were civil technology and mathematics, because he got real satisfaction from solving a problem and helping others to do the same.
Devon is studying a BTech in Civil Engineering (transportation) at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Before he was awarded a SANRAL bursary, he had completed a National Diploma in Civil Engineering and was working at the Breede Valley Municipality on an Expanded Public Works Programme appointment to broaden his experience.
He could not afford to continue his studies then. He heard about the bursaries from other students. "As soon as I heard about the SANRAL bursary, I applied. I am grateful for the opportunity."
One of Devon's long-term goals is to help poor communities in building new roads. "It will give me great satisfaction to know that my work is making a difference in the lives of other people."
Kerisha Govender is 25 years old. She obtained a SANRAL bursary to study at University of KwaZulu-Natal and graduated in 2014 with a BSc in Civil Engineering (with Honours). Kerisha started working for SANRAL the following year.
"Last year I moved to the SANRAL Technical Excellence Academy, in Port Elizabeth, in order to be involved in the planning and design process of road infrastructure.
Currently I am involved in geometric design, tender procurement processes and traffic planning and analysis.
"In 2011, I began my studies towards a BSc degree in Civil Engineering. Now that I am completely involved in civil engineering activities in the centre of the action, I have developed more interests in the specialist fields of civil engineering and my questions increased significantly in terms of complexity and focus.
"So, I took the next step. I applied to join a Master's in Engineering Programme in Transportation Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch in 2017. SANRAL supported my desire to specialise in the field of transportation engineering and encouraged me to further my studies. I was also granted a full bursary which covers my Master's Degree."