Members of UJ APK's SRC sit under a gazebo waiting to assist students. Photo courtesy of twitter.com/mymoney_sa

UJ PYA Wants to Make Tertiary Education “Fashionable and Accessible”

The PYA-led SRC at UJ’s Kingsway campus will be using it’s Right To Learn Campaign (RTLC) to assist students with registration and funding before lectures begin at the university this February.

The ANCYL, SASCO and YCLSA are all branches of the PYA. “We are trying to make education fashionable and accessible to all. Education is the new AK47,” said Tebogo Mphahlele, SRC Marketing and Public Relations Officer.

The campaign which is conducted annually also assist students who are in danger of being excluded from learning.

“We assist students with late [applications], any query they have, financial issues and academic exclusion,” said Makaula Ndipiwe the Secretary of APK ANCYL’s Somafco branch.

RTLC ensures that all academically deserving students are given a place at university.

The campaign officially began on the 8th of January alongside the start of the university’s registration period. But the team started working long before this.

“Our social media platforms [were flooded with] questions [from] students before the 8th, and so we’ve been assisting them via our social media,” Ndipiwe said.  “We’ve got a Facebook page [for] the ANCYL and also the SRC Twitter account.”

Financial Aid

Representatives from all three organisations confirmed that students should be aware that they can receive financial aid from a variety of sources. These include the SRC Trust Fund, NSFAS, internal and external bursaries as well as the Missing Middle Fund sponsored by the university.

All prospective and senior students struggling to pay their registration fees will benefit from the SRC Trust Fund. “We will make sure that everyone registers as long as you . . . have a student number,” Ndipiwe said.

The Council will assist students even after they have completed the online registration process.

“Once the student is inside the system after registering, then we also help them find bursaries and internal funding because if you qualify for the trust fund you also automatically qualify for the missing middle that will pay for your fees,” said Mbali Ngcobo, SASCO Branch Member of the Executive Council.

The missing middle funds, only cater for local students but the SRC is hoping to change this.

“For this year, we are trying to roll out something that is more inclusive of local and international students but for now, the missing middle [fund] only covers local students,” said Ngcobo who is also the Secretary of UJ APK SRC.

A post on the university’s official Facebook page incorrectly stated that the closing date for SRC Trust Fund applications was Friday the 12th of January.  ANCYL secretary, Ndipiwe confirmed that applications were actually due on the 13th of January and dismissed the date mentioned in the post as human error.

Depending on the availability of funds the SRC Trust Fund might reopen later on during the year, Ndipiwe added.

Academic Exclusion

Ndipiwe encouraged students who have been excluded from their respective programmes to inquire about the online appeals process and apply for it. “We assist students by arguing [on] their behalf in the Faculties when they are appealing against academic exclusion,” Ndipiwe told The Open Journal.

Under the SRC Academic Officer, the RTLC was able to help students apply for tertiary education during the application period through an outreach programme. The programme allowed them to visit various schools in the Mpumalanga province.

“We then assisted these students to get accommodation,” said Mphahlele who is also the YCLSA’s Executive Member of Fundraising.

Challenges

The overflooding of the registration system makes it difficult for the RTLC team to assist students swiftly. Ndipiwe advised students to log onto the system either late at night or early in their morning.

 A lack of resources such as laptop computers proved to be a challenge for registration staff who were attempting to register late applicants on the 8th of January, according to Ngcobo.

On the next day, the situation had improved because they were equipped with a gazebo and laptop to help students get registered.

On the other hand, there has been a substantial challenge from the office of housing to provide students coming from other provinces and cities with accommodation Mphahlele said.

“It’s only now that we are getting accommodation. We’ve always been here, having no place to sleep. We also don’t get food. We have to contribute the little we have to manage to get food for ourselves,” Mphahlele added.

Mphahlele was disappointed with the amount of assistance from the University. “The university is not helping us even as the SRC,” Mpahlele said. “We are not expecting the university to help us as the PYA. As the PYA we receive help from the ANC. Actually, they’ve done nothing so far to help us in this campaign of ours.”

“As the SRC, we are expecting to receive assistance from the university’s management, especially from the office of Student Affairs but they have done little or nothing,” Mpahlele continued.

For more information contact:

Mbali Ngcobo

Branch Executive Member of the Council (BEC) of SASCO

Secretary of UJ APK SRC 2017/2018

Cell: +27 76 177 3828

Tebogo Mphahlele

YCLSA Executive Member of Fundraising

SRC Marketing Officer and PR

Cell: +27 71 841 2452

Email: BtkTebza@gmail.com

About Gaby Ndongo 40 Articles
Gaby Ndongo Nkolo is a liberal Congolese nationalist who is currently studying Journalism at the University of Johannesburg. He works as a journalist for both The Open Journal and The Journalist. His interests are diverse ranging from skateboarding, boxing, the culinary arts, cycling and most importantly journalism which brought with it, interests in reading and writing. In particular Gaby enjoys activities that require speed or concentration; however, music beguiles his soul and rejuvenates his mind. This individual’s aspiration is to always be his true self and love who he is as a person; additionally, he aims to appreciate people for who they are as individuals.

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