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A passion for education: Western Cape RSRC assists with NSFAS applications

As the world moves ahead with technological advances and with COVID-19 encouraging an online approach to life and education, a large percentage of the student population and those wanting to study simply do not have the technological tools to do so.

WC RSRC Chairperson, Sifundo Ndzube, provides guidance to learners

Coupled with the above, financial restraints and the inability to afford tertiary studies further marginalise individuals in these groups.   Without support and guidance, many learners lose the opportunity to better themselves and their circumstances, and never realise their academic goals and dreams.

In most cases it is individuals in rural areas who are worst affected.   One of the issues identified by Western Cape Regional Students Representative Council (RSRC) Chairperson, Sifundo Ndzube, is the lack of information in these communities about support opportunities available to them. 

Knowing the conditions under which young people in rural areas and townships live, particularly related to access to information and the lack of connectivity to the internet, the RSRC identified the Kwa Langa township as one of the areas in need of support. 

On Saturday, 13 November 2021, the RSRC team set up a station in the Kwa Langa Zone 16 Playpark.  The main aim of the initiative was to provide support to members of the community in applying for National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding.  The RSRC availed themselves and provided the necessary resources to assist community members with the successful submission of their NSFAS applications.  The initiative created a platform for the sharing of information regarding funding opportunities and Unisa as an online learning institution.

Sifundo believes that the position that he and fellow RSRC members occupy would mean nothing if it did not positively impact on the lives of others.  “The ability to use one’s position to change the life of an individual was one of the motivating factors when planning this campaign,” he says. 

It was a busy day!

The initiative was very well received and there was positive engagement with community members.  A total number of 80 prospective students were successfully assisted.  With only four laptops and four RSRC members as well as the former RSRC Secretary assisting, this was a great achievement.

“What became apparent from the visit to Kwa Langa is that one often takes the access to data, money and technology for granted,” says Sifundo. “Access to education could change the circumstances under which many poor and marginalised people in our country and continent live.”

The success of the initiative has resulted in subsequent requests for the RSRC to visit other wards in the area.  Plans for the future include assisting prospective students in rural areas during the application period and taking the initiative to the George area.

Unisa wishes the RSRC every success in their future endeavours as they aim to provide support and change the lives of those less fortunate.

* Submitted by Lee-Anne Davids, Communications Officer, Unisa Western Cape Region

Publish date: 2021-11-16 00:00:00.0