Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mzwandile Masina said the metro has set aside R100 million in bursaries to benefit deserving learners including the 2018 matric top performers from the city region.
On Thursday, Masina honoured top matric performers, teachers from best performing schools and university graduates, who benefited from city’s bursary scheme.
He singled out the North Ekurhuleni district as one of the top 10 districts in South Africa after it was named as such by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga earlier this month. The region contributed significantly in the attainment of Gauteng’s number one spot for the 2018 matric results.
Speaking during the Excellence Awards ceremony held at the Alberton civic centre on Thursday, Masina said the city’s R100 million bursary scheme was meant to assist struggling families and were in recognition of hard-working learners.
“We are rolling out these bursaries as part of our acknowledgement of the hard-work that the learners have put in as well as to assist struggling families to enrol their children for further education and training. We will continue doing this good work,” said Masina.
On Thursday, Masina spent his morning at the City of Ekurhuleni Academic Excellence Awards Ceremony 2019, Alberton Civic Centre in Alberton, Ekurhuleni, with hundreds of top-performing matric learners and new graduates from the city’s bursary programme.
The ecstatic Ekurhuleni mayor spent his day interacting with teachers, school principals, parents and officials from Department of Basic Education and the Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi.
During the awards ceremony, Masina handed out certificates, bursaries and corporate gifts to top learners, assisted by the MMC of Human Settlements Lesiba Mpya, city manager Dr Imogen Mashazi and programme director Simphiwe Ngema.
Said Masina: “Once these learners complete matric, we do not leave them in the lurch, the City awards bursaries to the amount of R100 million to deserving learners. The majority of our bursaries are awarded to those pursuing academic studies in scarce skills, such as in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering, technology and accounting skills.”
He urged graduates from Ekurhuleni to become entrepreneurs and plough back into their communities by starting businesses and creating employment for other young people.
“We are happy that you are now equipped with the necessary skills to truly impact your communities and make noticeable change. You serve as the pillar of this community and you have been exemplary in your discipline,” he said.
Over the past three years the city has also seen an average of about 80% of Ekurhuleni’s graduates graduating in scarce skills.
“In total, there are 217 graduates from our bursary programme for the year 2018. Of these graduates; 52 are graduating from the Science, Aviation, Engineering and Built Environment faculty, 89 are graduating from finance, commerce, economics and transport management faculty. 40 are graduating from the humanities and law faculty, 9 from the health sciences faculty and 27 from the information, communication and technology faculty,” said Masina.
“A total of 180 graduates are graduating from our traditional universities and universities of technology, the rest of the graduates are from recognized and reputable colleges. Of the graduates, 139 are graduating with degrees, 73 with national diplomas and 5 with national certificates. We have a healthy spread of graduates across the City with 92 coming from the South of Ekurhuleni, 44 graduates from the North of Ekurhuleni and 81 graduates from the East of Ekurhuleni.”
After Masina’s address, a discussion entitled This is My Story: Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers took place between learners sharing how they coped with their studies during examinations.
Tineke du Plessis, one of the 2018 best performing learner overall from Hoerskool Dr EG Jansen in Ekurhuleni South, said high school built her character, confidence and resilience.
“I was scared of high school and had a big challenge on how to juggle my academic life with sport and cultural activities at school. But I gave all to my studies. I am planning to study at the Potchefstroom University this year and I am sure I will succeed after going through matric and its challenges,” said du Plessis during the open discussion.
Nezipho Mhlanga, one of the 2018 best performing learners from priority schools from Tembisa West Secondary School in Ekurhuleni South, said it was not easy for her to study for her matric because she came from an impoverished background and lived in a shack with her family.
“I grew up in a township and life can be difficult but I spent most of my time going through my books and studying Accounting and Economics. I received seven distinctions (in 2018). I have a passion for Accounting and I would like to be a chartered accountant after completing my studies. I am highly inspired by Nonkululeko Gobodo, the first black female chartered accountant in South Africa,” said Mhlanga.
Masina congratulated Tineke du Plessis for being the overall best performer and Nezipho Mhlanga for being the overall best performer from priority schools.”
“I also wish to congratulate the North District for featuring in the national top 10 best performing district list as number 7, even though this is a slight drop from number 4 in the previous year. I wish to congratulate the Ekurhuleni South district for being the most improved district; we applaud this district for its consistency in improving every year,” said Masina.
“Most importantly, none of this would be possible without our educators. I wish to congratulate the following teachers: Kamlesh Narshai, Elaine Garnet, Taryn Deaconos, Rachel Masadza, Rae Brodie, Heidi Harmse, Lis de la Hunt, Debbie Doman, Bettie Vivier, Panayiota Constantopolous, Henning Pieters, Alet van der Venter, Caitlin Mclellan, Wilna du Plessis, Candice Vengatass, Sue Sutton, Hannelie Naude, Christina di Batolomeo, Marguerite Froneman, Teresa Swart and Annemie Smit for outstanding teaching and performance in their subjects. These teachers have produced numerous distinctions and bachelor passes, please continue the good work.”