Two Commonwealth Scholarships awarded to UP

Posted on May 15, 2015

The University of Pretoria (UP) has been awarded two Commonwealth scholarships for the 2015/2016 cycle. Each year the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the United Kingdom (UK) awards just over 900 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to citizens of Commonwealth countries. Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships for developing Commonwealth countries are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The two UP students who were awarded Commonwealth scholarships for the 2015/2016 cycle are Ms Iris Nxumalo and Mr Anthony Bulling. Ms Nxumalo, an honours student in the Department of Political Sciences, will attend Oxford University to study for an MSc in African studies. Mr Bulling will start his PhD in integrated micro- and nano systems at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in September 2015.

Applications for UK Commonwealth scholarships are considered in terms of extremely strict selection criteria that include the academic merit of the candidate, the quality of the candidate’s research proposal and the likely impact of the proposed work on the development of the candidate’s home country. Candidates are responsible for securing admission to their institution(s) of choice in the UK before submitting their scholarship applications.                                                                                                         

Commonwealth scholarships for study in the UK are awarded for a period of two years (with a possibility of extension to three years) and include students’ airfare to the UK and return to their home country on expiry of the Scholarship, tuition and examination fees, a personal maintenance allowance to cover accommodation and living costs, and where applicable, a grant towards expenses incurred in the preparation of a thesis or dissertation. On expiry of the Scholarship, students from South Africa are required to return to their home country for at least five years.

According to Prof John Kirkland of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), ten previous recipients from UP are currently completing their master’s or PhD studies at various universities in the UK. He says that 91 students from UP have benefitted from the scholarships since 1994, which is an exceptional number of candidates from a single institution.

In addition to the two Commonwealth scholarships awarded to UP students, the University is also privileged to host an inbound Commonwealth Scholarship recipient, Ms Kevina Honajee from Mauritius. Ms Honajee started her master’s in dietetics at UP in 2013 and plans to graduate in April 2016. Inbound Commonwealth scholarships, which are funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) Endowment Fund, aim to provide unique opportunities for students from developing Commonwealth countries to study in countries other than their home country. The fund was established to mark the 50th anniversary of Commonwealth scholarships in 2009.

Ms Honajee has been studying and doing research full time while in South Africa and says that she is considering doing her PhD on completion of her master’s. In accordance with the requirements of her scholarship, Ms Honajee will be returning to Mauritius for at least two years after completing her studies at UP.

Ms Leanne van Zyl, Postgraduate Scholarship Coordinator at UP’s Client Service Centre, coordinates the advertising, administration and preliminary selection of applications for this award. The preliminary list of candidates from UP is forwarded to Universities South Africa (USA) for the national selection process, after which a final list of candidates is sent to the Department for International Development for final selection.

Click here for more information about international scholarship opportunities available to UP students. 

- Author Ansa Heyl

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