Absa Bank has donated R7 million to the North-West University 9NWU) as part of a scholarship programme that will increase access to tertiary education for young people. The donation will be used to provide scholarships to deserving and needy students.
The scholarship programme is part of the Barclays Africa Group’s 2017 CEO Scholarship Fund. Absa has increased its higher education support this year to reach more institutions. The 2017 allocation is spread across 21 universities in South Africa and several other higher education institutions on the continent.
Ms Elmarie de Beer, the NWU’s executive director for finance and facilities, says the university welcomes the donation and is very grateful for the support the scholarship programme will give. “The need is great. We believe this programme will make a significant difference in the lives of our students, especially the ‘missing middle’ students who often do not qualify for financial assistance.’’
Dr Reaan Immelman, general manager for education and skills of Absa, says the scholarship programme will be split between the NWU’s campuses in Mahikeng and Vanderbijlpark. “The funding is to be allocated to successful applicants who meet the requirements of the scholarship programme.” These requirements include that applicants must have a proven financial need, they must be members of households with a combined gross income of not more than one million Rand per annum and they have to maintain an academic average of 55% or higher.
“Successful applicants will also benefit by completing the mandatory leadership and academic support component of the scholarship programme. The NWU will be required to identify the successful applicants and to manage the disbursement of the funding.”
Barclays Africa Group chief executive Ms Maria Ramos says university education unlocks opportunities that can change the lives of young people and the future of the African continent. “The donation is an expression of our shared growth commitment to help realise Africa’s potential and contribute to long-term economic growth.”
Elmarie says Absa has agreed that the NWU can develop a leadership scholarship as part of the above scholarship programme. This will see the NWU identifying young student leaders on each of the three campuses and supporting them so that, when they finish their studies, they can become part of the university’s academic staff.
The NWU received the R7 million scholarship on 7 April. Present were Mr Errol Earle, director for institutional financial administration at the NWU, Dr Theunie Lategan, non-executive deputy chairman, Barclays Africa Corporate and Investment Banking Division, Prof Tebogo Mokgoro, specialist administrative advisor from the office of the Premier, Ms Elmarie de Beer, executive director for finance and facilities, Mr Kgalaletso Tlhoaele, provincial head of Absa Bank, Mr Stephen Seaka, head of public sector Absa Group-SA, Mr Danie Hefer, head of the office for financial support services of the NWU in Potchefstroom and Mr Fuad Adams, corporate coverage banker of Absa.