IT was not all hard work and no play for 350 learners attending Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s annual Grade 12 Accounting Winter School last week (29 to 3 July 2015): The learners also got to celebrate the university’s 10th birthday with a super-sized chocolate cake.
It is the third year the university has run the Deloitte-sponsored Accounting Winter School, which is geared towards helping matrics improve their Accounting knowledge and skills, in order to boost their end-of-year marks – and hence their chances of attending university and qualifying for bursaries.
This week (7 to 9 July) will see the start of the Grade 11 Accounting Winter School. “The Winter School Programme helps kids to dream about going to varsity,” said Deloitte partner (Port Elizabeth office) Stuart Wedderburn. “It motivates them and gives them something to aim at.” “We try to incorporate the fun element – our celebration of NMMU’s 10th birthday was part of that,” said NMMU’s School of Accounting Director Prof Frans Prinsloo. He said a component of the Winter School provided matrics with an orientation about higher education and university studies, and they were also briefed on how to apply for courses and access funding.
Over a third of the 520 learners who attended last year’s Grade 12 winter school are now first-year students at NMMU. “It’s been a great experience, and has helped me a lot with Accounting knowledge,” said Devron Moses, 18, who attends John Walton Secondary School in Uitenhage. “I don’t mind giving up my holiday for such an experience. In the long-term, it will be to my advantage ... My dream is to become a Chartered Accountant.” Moses said the School’s various motivational speakers had been his main highlight. “They have inspired me not to give up, to keep going.” “I understand Accounting better since I’ve been here,” said Donre Schoeman, 20, who attends Gamble Street Secondary School in Uitenhage. “It’s opened up my mind to Accounting.” Alexander Road High’s Kirsten Dods, 17, said: “The lectures have helped a lot and have given us an experience of what to expect next year.” Her classmate Carlos Fernandes, 18, said he felt more enlightened about the Chartered Accountancy profession.
“When you see people who are part of the CA world, and you see what they do, you also see what your life would be like as a CA.” Hillside High’s Candice Bessie, 17, found last year’s Grade 11 Winter School so beneficial, that she decided to attend the Grade 12 School this year. “I didn’t do so well in accounting last June [prior to attending the Grade 11 Winter School], but now I understand the work and have seen an improvement in my marks.” “The tutorials have helped me with some of the work I have found difficult. I have learned easier ways to do things,” said Framesby High’s Lize Minnie, 18, who appreciated that the tutorial groups also catered for Afrikaans-speaking learners. Zukisa Ntlabati, 17, from Lilyfontein High in East London, said the classes provided an opportunity for revision. “It’s holidays now and we get lazy to practise.
The Winter School ensures that we are already revising for prelims.” NMMU Accounting 1 Senior Lecturer and Winter School Programme Coordinator, Ansulene Prinsloo, said the main aim of the Accounting Winter School Programme was to help learners obtain higher Admission Points Scores (APS) – their ticket to higher education. She said an analysis which involved comparing the June and December matric marks of pupils from last year’s Grade 12 Accounting Winter School, who had successfully registered for degrees or diplomas at NMMU, showed that more than half had improved, some by as much as 30 percentage points.
The Grade 12 Accounting Winter School covered the entire matric curriculum, while the Grade 11 Accounting Winter School will cover the four main topics of the Grade 11 Accounting curriculum. The format used for the Winter School Programme is the same one used to teach Accounting at NMMU: The learners attend a large group lecture, then are divided into smaller groups for tutorials, and must complete daily homework assignments.
The top three participants, Brandwag High’s Chantalle Smit, Riebeeck College’s Yolanda Mni, Queenstown Girls High School’s Uviwe Mbombela as well as the most improved learner, Riebeeck’s Khanyisile Williams, received Deloitte-sponsored prizes, including a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and gift vouchers ranging from R350 to R1000. Top-placed Smit, 18, who hopes to study Chartered Accountancy, said her secret to success was “hard work”.
The highlight of the Grade 12 Winter School for her was learning parts of the Accounting syllabus that had not yet been covered at school. “So now I understand it before the teacher has taught it.”
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