The University of Pretoria (UP), in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP), recently welcomed UP’s 2021 MCFSP scholarship recipients at an event held in Hatfield.
This year, 54 undergraduates and 86 masters students from across Africa were selected to benefit from this programme by studying at UP. Since its inception in 2014, the MCFSP has accommodated more than 23 000 scholars across the continent and has committed to over 40 000 scholarships.
Addressing the new and transitioning recipients of the scholarship, UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe said that students must take responsibility for their studies and have an inquisitive mind while on this programme: “Be innovative, creative and think critically about topical issues. Also remember to practice the core values of UP and MCFSP, which are excellence, relevance, accountability, responsibility, commitment, integrity, pride, humility, and fairness. What is good about this programme is that it is pan-African; it aims to train transformational leaders who will support the sustainable development of the African continent.”
Eight years ago, UP entered into a ten-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to offer scholarships to academically talented but financially disadvantaged youth from across Africa, to study at the University from 2014 to 2023.
The MCFSP was founded on the premise that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, should have the opportunity to obtain a quality education and pursue their aspirations. The goal of the MCFSP is to develop a cohort of transformational leaders who will support social transformation and economic growth on the African continent. Recipients of this scholarship are provided with financial, psychosocial and academic support along with other relevant opportunities, to develop into future leaders in their communities.
“This scholarship is to make sure that recipients transform themselves and their communities upon finishing their studies, and I encourage you to take advantage of all the opportunities that this programme offers,” said Daniel Mundeva, Mastercard Foundation Program Partner for Africa. “It is important to connect and engage with fellow recipients to exchange ideas and research.”
Dr Grace Ramafi, MCFSP Program Manager at UP, advised recipients to work hard academically and maintain an excellent grade point average: “The University is an enabling environment with many opportunities at your disposal which can open doors for you in future. Expand your knowledge and engage with others.”
The MCFSP at UP requires scholars to carry out community engagement activities during the course of their studies at UP (24 hours per year), and to have a vision and plan of returning to their home countries to serve their communities after graduation.
The funding given to the students includes tuition, accommodation, meals, prescribed textbooks, stationery and printing, winter allowance, stipend, medical aid, research funds and bereavement- related travel.
“It is a privilege and an honour to be part of this programme and I am excited,” said Chioma Amaechi from Nigeria, who’s studying towards a master’s degree in public management and policy. “This means I am a step closer to realising my dreams. I feel that I was selected to make a difference.”
Victor Ngungu, who’s studying towards an honours degree in electrical engineering, said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity and Mastercard treats us like family; all that is expected from us is to work hard and graduate.”