“After a stringent selection and interview process, the lucky candidates received their official scholarship letters at an induction function in Emperors Palace recently”
By Mamello Maila
Tsakane youngster Thato Makena is one of six Ekurhuleni youngsters who have been given all expenses-paid scholarships, valued at R170 000 each, by the Peermont Education Trust (PET), a community social investment initiative of Emperors tertiary education.
After a selection and interview process, the lucky candidates received official scholarship letters at an induction function in Emperors Palace recently, much to delight of Makena who is looking forward to study a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Witwatersrand.
Speaking about what inspired him to follow this career path, Makena, who matriculated with four distinctions from JE Malepe Secondary School says, his father runs a small internet café established back in 2017, so he literally grew up next to a computer.
“I’m very good with computers and since technology will dominate the world during the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I don’t want to be left behind,” he adds. The 17-year-old, who is the first child out of six to go to university is ready.
When asked what this scholarship from PET means to him, he answered”it is overwhelming and removes all the financial stress on my family while i works hard to score good marks at university.
“My father regards his work as hustling, as his business doesn’t make enough money, while my mother works at an NGO as a field worker.
“The PET bursary has created a stress free environment for me in university and for my family at home and I really appreciate it.”
Apart from having their tuition and accommodation expenses covered, getting books and laptop each, PET also provides a comprehensive mentorship programme for scholarship recipients to enable them to cope and develop new skills during their time at university.
The programme covers study skills, emotional intelligence and employability. Monthly mentorship meetings are also held with the student to ensure they receive the much needed socio-psychological support required.
“Over the years, we have found that we able to increase our graduation rate by offering learners additional support throughout the year.
“To this end, the trust has an impressive 85 % graduation rate compared to the national graduation rate of 22 per cent. This is exceptional considering that the learners hail from township schools,” comments trust manager Jenny Findlay.
Testament to the above structures and hard work, several trust scholarship recipients from last year were also recognised at the induction function for the outstanding results they achieved in 2019. Among them were Disebo Mapole and Sandile Nkosi, both of Tsakane, and Mpumelelo Shongwe of Alra Park.
While Mapole finished her second year Bachelor of Accounting degree studies at the University of Johannesburg with an incredible eight distinctions, Nkosi completed his first year BSc Mechanical Engineering degree course at the University of the Witwatersrand with three distinctions.
Not to be outdone, Shongwe racked up six distinctions while completing her BEd Senior Phase and FET Teaching degree at the University of Pretoria.
When asked to share her secrets on how she gets such good results, Mapole, a former Tsakane Secondary School learner said: “I ensure to put in the hours and study beyond 45 hours set by the trust.
“I also have stress management techniques I follow, like meditation, singing and going home whenever I feel like the pressure is too much to handle.” The distinction machine adds that her family is her inspiration and she would like to provide for them.
“I also have a desire for a financially secure future and to be an inspiration in my community, so that people can see that education really is the key to success,” she adds. For Nkosi, who matriculated from JE Malepe Secondary School, his study success is all attributed to planning and prioritising.
“I firmly believe in Winston Churchill’s words when he said ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’.
“After planning comes the long hours, late nights and hard work,” he says.
To further help him be a top student, Nkosi adds, he often relates everything he reads with the real world and puts all the knowledge into application. I’m also inspired by my family to do really well in life,” he concludes.
My role models like the above three, who also assist in mentorship new PET scholarship recipients, the class of 2020 should achieve good results and make a success of their tertiary studies.