About thirty Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University students will be visiting deep rural villages and towns in a bid to assist high school learners in raising their awareness of matters relating to access to higher education.
Dubbed “Operation Sangena”, this initiative is spearheaded by NMMU’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and will see the student leaders and other students travelling to villages in Fort Beaufort, Alice, Lusikisiki, Umtata, Sterkspruit and Jamestown to name a few. They have targeted the deep rural areas because of how difficult it is for learners in those regions to gain access to such information.
The students will present information related to the study options available, requirements for entry into degree and diploma programmes, how to calculate their APS points and possible funding avenues.
“Operation Sangena is about helping those who are less fortunate and don’t have the same opportunities that we have,” says Anele Zondi, NMMU SRC Vice-president.
The initiative is now in its fifth year and has grown since its inception. It has made information accessible to an estimate of 4000 learners thus far. It is in line with the university’s vision of widening access. It also serves as a vehicle to reach communities in deep rural areas. This aligns with the government’s objective of making higher education more accessible.
Poverty in the Eastern Cape is rife and many learners from the deep rural areas cease to study further as they cannot afford tuition for higher education. Hence the SRC will also provide information about possible funding avenues such as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
“We are particularly looking at eradicating the problem we face each year as the SRC - of having to turn students away because of a lack of funding. This is largely because they do not have access to information,” says Zondi.
“You will find that most of the students might have the required marks, but as a result of not being able to access information about financial aid, they don’t know about NSFAS. This hinders their prospects of pursuing their studies. We want to make this information accessible to them,” he says.
A large number of students at the university come from rural areas and some of these students will also be participating in the initiative.
Okuhle Mgandela, 3rd year BCom Accounting student, and one of the volunteering students in Operation Sangena, encourages learners to follow through on the goals they had set for themselves at the beginning of the year.
Mgandela, who attended Little Flower Senior Secondary School in Qumbu, expressed how excited she was to be a part of the project.
“I come from that area so I know what it’s like to be one of those learners. I look forward to giving a helping hand to those who need it,’’ says Mgandela.
The thirty odd NMMU students visited Fort Beaufort yesterday. They will make their way through the Eastern Cape until they reach Jamestown on 3 July before heading back to Port Elizabeth.
For more information contact: Anele Zondi – SRC Vice-president - 0742115675
In the photograph are members of the SRC ready to invade rural villages and towns in a bid to assist high school learners in raising their awareness of matters relating to access to higher education.
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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