Jennilee Oosthuizen, 22, lives in Bethelsdorp Extension, in the Northern Areas.
She is well aware of the many challenges facing the youth in this area, including under-resourced schools that opened late this year, as parents and other community members protested for better school conditions.
To do her bit for Mandela Day, NMMU academic trainee and Accounting Honours graduate Jennilee Oosthuizen, 22 (middle), organised a sponsored bus to enable Northern Areas pupils (from left) Chadley Langley, 17, Naailah Botha, 17, Primrose Dloto, 17, and Enrico Prinsloo, 18, to attend NMMU’s week-long Accounting Winter Schools.
Many pupils are still catching up on the time missed – and, inspired by Nelson Mandela Day (on 18 July), Oosthuizen decided to help.
As a BCom (Chartered Accounting) Honours graduate, now completing her articles as an academic trainee at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, she was well-aware that the University’s School of Accounting was running its annual Winter Schools for Grade 11 and 12 pupils – and knew this would benefit Northern Area pupils, catching up on the syllabus.
However, she also realised that most would be unable to pay for transport to NMMU’s South Campus in Summerstrand – so she organised sponsorship for a bus, with the result that 60 pupils from a number of Northern Areas schools could attend the Winter Schools. Sponsors included postgraduate students who were recipients of Thuthuka Bursaries as well as students within NMMU’s Pinnacle Leadership Programme.
“It was my way of giving back because of my love for education. As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’,” said Oosthuizen.
“We have a very unmotivated youth – the Winter Schools gives them ‘the varsity experience’ to motivate them to work harder to get a bursary and tertiary education.”
Over 800 Grade 11 and 12 pupils attended NMMU’s Port Elizabeth Accounting Winter Schools, with a further 200 attending a Winter School in George.
“For some pupils, attending the School is the difference between them passing or failing Accounting, obtaining their distinction or not, and seeing for themselves that anything is possible,” said NMMU Accounting Lecturer and Coordinator of the Schools, Ansulene Prinsloo.
“Last year, more than 60 per cent of the pupils who attended the Winter Schools showed improved results (comparing their June and December exams), some improving by as much as 30 percentage points.”
Prinsloo said one of the main messages she hoped pupils would take from the Schools was that “university education is possible for anyone, provided you work hard”.
The annual Winter Schools, which ran during the school holidays from 4 to 8 July, are the springboard for pupils to boost their accounting results – and an opportunity for companies such as Deloitte, PwC and Investec (which provided funding for the schools) to sow into the future pool of business professionals in South Africa.
The Winter School programme is taught using the School of Accounting’s highly-acclaimed teaching model – which includes a combination of lectures, tutorial classes and homework.
This year, pupils in the Winter Schools were also assigned mentors from PwC and Deloitte's, for further support – “recognising that the development of strong life skills are an important ingredient to be a successful pupil or student”, said Prinsloo.
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