After nine years of successfully running the Buffalo City Metro bursary funding programme, the metro has increased the budget allocation for the programme after challenges with insufficient funding.
In a report tabled before council last month, head of executive services Ncumisa Sidukwana said the allocation was insufficient and, as a result, there were delays in payments that need to be made for the beneficiaries.
Speaking to the Daily Dispatch recently BCM spokesperson Samkelo Ngwenya said the delays were caused by the overlapping of financial years with the academic year.
“Also there have been increases in fees per institution, faculty, and course. Also the number of beneficiaries is not capped. However, we are not foreseeing any delays going forward and we welcome council’s decision to intervene and add resources to this programme because its impact is immeasurable, especially in the lives of young people and their families.
“It’s a call to all government spheres to make a contribution in this area and invest in the future of our country through young people and via education,” Ngwenya said.
In the last financial year R2m was allocated towards the programme. This has now been increased to R3m.
Currently BCM funds 42 students of engineering, finance, planning and economic services, information technology, and agriculture.
“Interviews for the 32 shortlisted applications were held on January 19, and 16 new beneficiaries were selected. In addition to the 16 beneficiaries, 26 beneficiaries from previous years will progress and benefit from the bursary fund in 2018, and that brings the number of bursary-funded students for the 2018 academic year to 42,” said Sidukwana.
Since the programme started in 2008 at least 55 beneficiaries have graduated, of which two are permanently employed by BCM, two are temporary workers and six are interns within the metro.
“The fund also provides beneficiaries with an opportunity to participate in experiential learning placements or internships,” said Sidukwana.
Bursary funding applications for the 2019 academic year will open at the end of September, Ngwenya said.