JSE Schools Investment Challenge

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Participants of the JSE Schools Investment Challenge
Participants of the JSE Schools Investment Challenge

Participants test their share trading skills through an ongoing annual simulated "ghost trading" programme. Each team is given an imaginary sum of R1 000 000 to invest in JSE-listed shares. Their performance is tracked and measured in a competition against other teams taking part in the Challenge. The top performers win fantastic prizes, such as trips to international stock markets. The Challenge has been creating interest in the dynamic environment of the stock market for more than 42 years. The entrance fee to participate in this initiative is R120 per team. A school may apply for the fee to be waivered if their scholars are unable to pay.

The JSE contacted the Rhodes University Community Engagement Office in 2017 and they extended an invite to Rhodes to participate in this initiative. Rhodes needed a member of staff to serve as the catalyst. The catalyst role was to find schools in the Grahamstown area to participate in this initiative. The catalyst would also advertise and then appoint Rhodes students as mentors. The catalyst would liaise between the mentors and the JSE representative who would come to our campus to train the mentors. Mentors visit the teams at the various schools twice per month and are paid R75 stipend per school visit. The mentors submit monthly reports to the catalyst who submits them to the JSE. The catalyst monitors the program and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Leon Coopasamy, senior lecturer in the Department of Accounting, took on the position of “catalyst”. The JSE signed a memorandum of agreement with Rhodes and Leon contacted the principals at nine schools in Grahamstown to be a part of the game. During the 2017 year, the schools that participated were Mary Waters High School, Graeme College and Kingswood College.

During the 2018 year, we were able to also include Ntsika Secondary School and Nombulelo Secondary School together with the three schools from 2017. Mentors were chosen from the Rhodes student body and were trained by the JSE representative. The five chosen mentors comprise two Accounting 3 students and three Accounting 1 students. The mentors ensure that the schools trade at least once per month and have set up WhatsApp groups with the teams from each school.

The challenges faced by the mentors included not being able to conduct their sessions in computer laboratories with internet access. This has partly been overcome by the use of the mentor’s laptop, catalysts WIFI modem and departmental data projector.

We are hoping to add more schools on this initiative going forward.

Source:  Leon Coopasamy