Pretoria — Up to 1 826 learners in Gauteng will be awarded bursaries estimated at R128 million to further their studies at higher education institutions, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced on Tuesday.
"Any nation which is serious about growth and development of its economy...will understand the value and significance of investing in the education," Mokonyane said at the presentation of the bursaries in Johannesburg.
The Premier said at the inception of the programme, the bursary amount was R35 000 for 2010 Academic year. This amount is meant to cover tuition, accommodation, books and meals. The bursary value has been increased to R50 000 over the years and in line with university annual increases.
"Since the inception of the programme, 6 915 beneficiaries have been awarded bursaries to study at institutions of higher learning, FET Colleges and enrol in artisan programmes."
For the current academic year 2013, over 1000 new beneficiaries have been awarded bursaries which include 459 young women for the new intake.
The bursary scheme was launched in 2008 with 1500 bursaries allocated to disadvantaged youth in the province.
Since then it has grown exponentially year after year, redirecting its efforts to specifically meet the needs of disadvantaged young people coming from no-fee paying schools, said Mokonyane.
Last year, Gauteng attained an 83.9% matric pass rate with over 28 000 of those who passed qualifying for Bachelor's Degree pass.
"What it means is that there is an increase in a number of youth who require further education. Many of these have no access to resource needed to achieve this," Mokonyane said.
As a result additional 566 Gauteng 2012 matriculants will benefit from bursaries to higher education.