2 February 2022
The Sanlam UCT Online High School Scholarship Programme was devised to help capacitate the country with some of the crucial skills needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It forms part of Sanlam’s purpose to empower generations of Africans to be financially confident, secure and prosperous. It’s also part of a big-picture goal to foster the diverse talent pipelines needed to capacitate South Africa’s financial services sector and other vital industries.
Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive: Brand at Sanlam, says, “It’s awe-inspiring to be surrounded by so much young talent and to know we will play a small part in their stories. There is limitless potential in this nation. It is our responsibility to ensure we take full advantage of our young population by ensuring they are suitably educated and prepped for the demands of the digital age. We want our young people to feel confident competing in a global arena one day. We want them to pursue the scarce skills we have a dire dearth of right now. By investing in their potential now, we secure a better future for South Africa.”
He said Sanlam had chosen to partner with UCT Online High School because of the calibre of its educational offering. “UCT shares our vision to give our country the very best chance of a brighter future by empowering tomorrow’s young leaders. It shares our focus on science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and the importance of financial literacy. We believe this scholarship programme can change lives and we look forward to seeing how our first cohort of young people progress.”
The UCT Online High School launched in July 2021 and is South Africa’s most affordable private high school. It’s a collaboration with the Valenture Institute, an education technology company that provides the proprietary learning technology, analytics, and learner support model. The model empowers learners to pace their learning, while supported with one-on-one tutoring from teachers and coaches.
At a welcome event on 1 February, successful applicant Thuto Maleka, said of their journey ahead, “My hopes and dreams are to finish high school with excellent results and attend a university that will prepare me for my dream job, vascular surgery. The Sanlam scholarship gives me the opportunity to raise my academic capability and to be in a different and exciting high school learning environment that includes working at my own pace and in the comfort of my own home.”
Grade 8 learner, Mukeliwe Makhatini, also successfully applied for one of the scholarships. “Here I am today, standing in front of people whom I’ve never met or known, but who are interested in my future. I’m sincerely honoured to have been selected as a recipient of the UCT Online High School scholarship. The scholarship has helped in easing the financial burden that my family had to deal with trying to give us an education. It is like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Thank you for showing the spirit of Ubuntu.”
UCT Online High School Principal, Yandiswa Xhakaza, says, “We decided that from day one of our doors opening we would find ways to nurture talented young people who cannot afford our fees. We are incredibly grateful that, like us, Sanlam recognises the importance of investing in our future leaders, society builders and changemakers. Partnering with Sanlam was a crucial step in getting us to where we are today.”
Xhakaza adds that the application process was ‘gruelling’. Thousands of applications were received and screened, with many sadly missing the requisite 70% maths and language marks to meet the minimum requirements. This demonstrates the dire need for a strong focus on numeracy in South Africa. Applicants then sent in video interviews, from which the 90 successful Sanlam scholars were selected.
Mbhele concludes, “We are beyond proud to be sponsoring these young people and we congratulate each of them and wish them well. High school is such a special, formative time, and we’re excited to watch them fly. We hope that many other corporates will consider sponsoring further scholarships. Africa’s greatest gift is our youth.
“We need to invest in them if we are to unleash our continent’s full, unparalleled potential. Now’s the time to start them on their journey to live with confidence, go after their goals, and build the futures they deserve. As the first-ever school song – beautifully sung by GoodLuck, Shekhinah, YoungstaCPT and Msaki – so proudly proclaims, ‘We Own The Future’. Our young people own the future. Let’s give them the best leg up we can.”
Note that UCT Online High School is still accepting applications, however, these are very limited, with the 5 000 threshold fast approaching. To date, UCT Online High School has had over 10 500 learner applications.
Watch the full recording of the Sanlam Scholars Celebratory Welcome event that took place on 1 February, where UCT Online High School and Sanlam leadership teams offered advice and motivation to the Sanlam scholars.