The Foundation supports the bridging programme by providing financial assistance to 50 students per year, covering their tuition fees, accommodation as well as other living expenses.
Since the inception of corporate social investment at South Africa’s state-owned power utility Eskom, a key focus areas has been on the development needs in the social sector. This includes projects in the health, education, environment, community development and welfare sectors.
Addressing bridging programme challenges
On the education front, one of the initiatives the Foundation supports is the SciMathUS (Science and Mathematics at the University of Stellenbosch) bridging programme.
This is an intensive, holistic year-long skills development programme, which aims to afford students who have already written the final National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination, but who did not qualify for admission into higher education or selected programmes with high entry requirements (such as engineering, medicine etc.), the opportunity to improve their results in gateway subjects.
The year-long SciMathUS bridging programme helps students from educationally disadvantaged communities to gain access to higher education and also prepares them for success in their tertiary studies.
Showing positive results
On average more than 88% of the students who complete the programme successfully enrol in higher education. During the 2015/16 financial year, the Foundation supported 50 students from previously disadvantaged communities to participate in this programme.
[quote]All the students supported by the Foundation during 2015 completed the programme successfully. Forty-nine students are enrolled with the University of Stellenbosch to continue their formal studies during 2016.
This includes seven engineering, 24 BSc and 11 BCom students.
- 20% of the group scored more than 80% in mathematics and in physical sciences;
- The average in each of the two subjects is 72%;
- On average, the students’ performance increased by 17 percentage points;
- The biggest improvement in mathematics is 41 percentage points and 39 percentage points in physical sciences;
- The top performer scored more than 90% in both mathematics and physical sciences.
With these new improved results, students can now be accepted to study at any tertiary institution in South Africa. Most students have chosen to study at Stellenbosch University in 2016.