Challenges rural pupils face when applying for universities

Pupils from different schools during the Career Expo event held in Ngwenze Senior Secondary School in Dutywa. PICTURE: BHEKI RADEBE

Pupils from various high schools who attended the Career Expo event said that these initiatives guide and teaches them how to apply to higher education institutions and about different qualifications.

These pupils revealed this at Ngwenze Senior Secondary School in Bolothwa, Dutywa, when the Sakhikamva Development Foundation, SASDF, and SANRAL hosted a Career Expo event for the first time in the region. Numerous schools were present, including Clarkbury High School, Mazizini Senior Secondary School, Vulingcobo Senior Secondary School, Nyanga Senior Secondary School, and others.

Uyanda Brian Ngubane (17), a Grade 12 pupil at Vulingcobo in Chizela, Dutywa, who aspires to be a teacher, says opportunities like these are rare. Ngubane says that he learnt that there are many other career options outside medicine and teaching that he could explore.

Siwaphiwe Sigidi (17), one of the students, says there are numerous challenges they face in Grade 12, and applying is difficult due to a lack of resources. “We come from diverse backgrounds. Some have to travel to town to submit these applications in a location with a stronger network, and frequently they lack the funds to do so. Many pupils, even though they passed well, do not continue their studies as a result of this.”

Mlibo Sonjica (17), a Grade 12 pupil at Mazizini from Maclear, says that on this day he learnt that you should study something that will not make it difficult for you to find work.

Pupils from different schools during the Career Expo event held in Ngwenze Senior Secondary School in Dutywa. PICTURE: BHEKI RADEBE

Lunathi Melitafa, who is in Grade 12 at Clarkbury High School not far from Engcobo, says that agricultural science is taught at her school and that she plans to continue studying agriculture in university. She says she has already applied to several universities.

Sandise Mgadi (15), a pupil in Grade 11 at Nqabane Senior Secondary School, says he already knows he wants to become a lawyer. On this particular day, he asked all the questions he has ever wanted answered, including how long it takes to obtain a law degree.

According to L. Mbiza, the principal of the school where this event was hosted, this is the first time in their history that they have had an event of this nature, and they are hopeful that all the participating schools will experience positive results.

Mbiza says that this is a privilege because they did not have access to similar possibilities while they were still in school. Mbiza says that back then when you passed STD 10, you knew you were going to study education because there were not many opportunities.

Makhi Zihlangu of the Sakhikamva Development Foundation said, “We are here to educate pupils. We are here to inspire and motivate the pupils, and to let them realise that the only thing that can secure their future is education.”

Poet and Contralesa chairperson Zolani Mkiva, a native of this village who attended the event, also encouraged the pupils.