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Mthatha teen with 4 As to be fully funded

Date Released: Sat, 12 January 2013 08:29 +0200

Rhodes University has pledged to ensure the studies of a Transkei teenager, who obtained four distinctions in her matric results, are fully funded.

The University pledged to assist following appeals by 17 year old Ntombovuyo Ngaphu, of Gxulu village in Libode, and mother Nobantu Ngaphu, through Daily Dispatch and SAFM.

Prior to Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Rhodes University Deputy Vice Chancellor, calling on the family it was, according to Dispatch, feared that “AN IMPOVERISHED Transkei teenager might miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime to continue with her studies if she cannot raise transport fare to Grahamstown to write her National Benchmark Tests (NBT) on Saturday.”

Ngaphu obtained four distinctions in last year’s matric making her the top matric pupil at St Patrick’s Senior Secondary School at Gxulu village.

Dr Mabizela said that Ngaphu will be fully funded.  He explained that the university made a commitment to do anything possible to ensure that students from rural and working class backgrounds get the opportunity to study at Rhodes.

Being poor and lacking money should not preclude talented students from studying in the country’s top universities, he added.

Luyanda Bheyile, Rhodes University undergraduate financial aid administrator, explained that students in need can be assisted through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding as well as through the University’s own funded financial aid scheme. 

“We can always give her NSFAS funding, until something comes up,” he said.  But this funding will only be available after she had submitted the two outstanding documents that she had been notified of.

Dr Mabizela said that “even if Rhodes did not have NASFAS funding, we would have gone out of our way to ensure that she gets the best education. Our recruitment office pays particular attention to learners from rural backgrounds.”

Last year the University came up with a comprehensive strategy to recruit more learners from rural schools, which in turn paved way for the University to work with organisations such as the Rural Education Access Programme (REAP) to get more learners from rural and working class backgrounds.

Dr Mabizela said that he was excited to see a learner who came out of a rural, working class background having performed exceptionally in her Grade 12 results and hoped that she will continue to obtain outstanding results.

“What we require from her is to maintain academic excellence; and if she does, funding will always be guaranteed at Rhodes,” he said. “The onus is on her to maintain academic excellence.”

Ngaphu will not be required to take the National Benchmark Test (NBT). Desiree Wicks, the University student bureau manager said that when she found out Ngaphu was planning to come to the University to take the test she stopped her because her marks were high enough to exempt her from taking the test.

Mrs Wicks explained that the University encourages learners to take the NBT test as soon as they have been granted provisional acceptance to the University as a safety measure in case they do not perform well on their end of year examination.

Ngaphu has been accepted to study towards a Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes. She matriculated top of her class at St  Patrick’s  obtained managed a 96% pass rate in 2012 despite having three Grade 12 classes being taught under a tree as a result of the damage caused by fire in 2011.

Picture credit: Daily Dispatch

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