BANKSETA grant changes the lives of UP students

Posted on May 17, 2016

The Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA) changed the lives of 75 students when it donated R9 million to the University of Pretoria (UP) for student bursaries. On 28 April 2016, UP hosted a celebratory function for the recipients and their parents.

The BANKSETA bursaries were awarded to 47 students from the Department of Informatics and 28 students from the Department of Marketing Management. The funding will go towards the students' registration fees, tuition fees, meal fees and required text books or technological devices (such as notebook computers). BANKSETA enables skills development and transformation in the broader banking and microfinance sector, and supports people development through partnerships, alleviating unemployment, creating a brighter future and enabling change. BANKSETA focusses on SMEs, the youth, adult education, continuous professional development and research.

Prof Alta van der Merwe, Head of the Department of Informatics at UP, says this grant addresses the national student funding crisis and is specifically aligned to the scarce and critical skills in the broader banking and inclusive banking sector. 'We are very proud of this partnership with BANKSETA as we cannot address skills shortages in isolation. There is a national shortage of skills in information technology and training skilled graduates in informatics will assist South Africa to be more competitive in an increasingly technological world.'

Prof Yolanda Jordaan, Head of the Department of Marketing Management at UP, says that the BANKSETA bursaries will assist in the development of marketing and sales skills, which have been identified as being among the top 100 scarce skills in the country. 'The BCom (Marketing Management) degree at UP addresses the scarce skills problem by including practical modules where students work on real-life marketing problems, as identified by industry partners. Such projects include the management of budgets, project management and implementation of marketing strategies.'

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UP, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, affirmed that the BANKSETA grants assist the University in delivering graduates with the requisite skills to meet the human resource needs of our country, which remains the most visible contribution UP makes to the economy and society as a whole. 'Through initiatives such as this, where it collaborates with partners in the public sector such as BANKSETA, the University provides for national needs pertaining to the urgent scarce skills areas of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET), as identified by the DHET and government. It thus also meets one of its prioritised strategies of increasing the percentage of students in SET.'

Ms Caroline King, Acting CEO of BANKSETA, reiterated that the success of this project will support economic growth by helping 75 young, vibrant students join the workforce with knowledge and skills in analysing and managing information efficiently.

The University of Pretoria is grateful for BANKSETA's involvement, and both institutions wish the students well in their academic endeavours.


- Author Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology

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