Siphindile Bhengu, from Amanzimtoti in KwaZulu-Natal, was one of thousands of matric learners in 2020 who had to endure one of the toughest academic years in a century.
The COVID pandemic played havoc with Siphindile’s final school year, as she had limited internet access at home, and she had to rely on education radio and TV broadcasts from the SABC to get through. A class WhatsApp group from her school also assisted.
In the end she achieved a Bachelor’s pass and one distinction among the 7 subjects she wrote — a big achievement in light of the huge challenges she faced. Her goal, ultimately, is to go to university.
“If it wasn’t for COVID, I believe I would have achieved more distinctions in matric. It was tough, but in the end I was happy with my final results,” says Siphindile.
After the matric results were released in March, Siphindile faced a new set of challenges as her family doesn’t have the funds to send her to university. Siphindile is not alone in this struggle and, like many matriculants, she has applied for a bursary through NSFAS to study through the Durban University of Technology (DUT). However, administrative delays have left her on a long waiting list.
Her story and situation were highlighted in an eNCA interview recently (watch here). And after viewing the news clip, the team at College SA, a top distance learning provider in SA, decided to step in and help.
After getting in touch with Siphindile, College SA offered her an opportunity to study towards a CIMA Business and Accounting course. This is a well-rounded and globally respected course which provides one with knowledge and much-needed skills when it comes to the business world. This course will also provide her with an NQF Level 5 qualification upon completion.
Regardless of whatever future career path Siphindile takes, this course will put her in good stead going forward and can be applied in several ways.
Siphindile is now officially registered for this course and College SA will cover all its costs, including textbooks and workbooks, as well as exam fees. The distance learning course is such that Siphindile can complete it from home.
If Siphindile does get a place at DUT, she can still continue her studies with College SA, providing her with flexibility. The team at Optimi Group, which owns College SA, has further stepped in to supply her with a laptop.
“Helping Siphindile as she transitions into the next phase of her education has been a huge privilege. Importantly, we believe this goes to show that whatever your situation and whichever route you decide to pursue, there are options available to you to achieve your next step in education success. We see this especially with the vocational and training space, which offers many opportunities and can help one climb the NQF and skills ladder, thereby improving one’s job prospects,” says Eloise Nolte, MD of College SA.
“When it comes to alleviating South Africa’s severe unemployment problem, these kinds of courses fill a much needed gap, and we believe that the future lies in making more South Africans aware that this is a viable option to grow and nurture their careers,” concludes Nolte.