EDU welcomes first years

1 Mar 2013 - 11:30

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(L-R) EDU student mentor Anela Feleza with Palesa Hoye who serves on the Humanities Student Council

The Education Development Unit (EDU) provides psychosocial and academic support to students throughout their undergraduate careers. This is achieved through a variety of interventions which include mentorship programmes, life-skills training as well as additional tutorials referred to augmented courses. There are currently 494 students on the ED programme of which 28 are former 'wannabe@humanities' members. The aim of the 'wannabe@humanities' network is to identify and support high school learners from disadvantaged schools by partnering them with Humanities students who act as mentors. According to Student Recruitment Officer Khwezi Bonani, there is a strong link between this type of recruitment and the on-going academic support provided by EDU to successful candidates once they register with the faculty.

"We take a long-term, developmental view when recruiting students from disadvantaged communities. We are aware of the educational challenges that some of our applicants face however we are committed to assisting those students who demonstrate the ability and potential to succeed despite their circumstances. This is transformation in a very tangible sense" says Bonani.

First year Humanities student, Mzoxolo Sitoto, provides a good example of the efficacy of early intervention and support programmes. Mzoxolo is a former Intsebenziswano High School student who has enjoyed a long relationship with the faculty thanks to the 'wannabe@humanities' programme. He could not wait to commence his studies at UCT and, thanks to hard work on his part as well as mentorship provided by the faculty, he is now registered for a Bachelor of Social Science Degree. He is one of many who are starting their journey at UCT with the help of the ED programme.

"Honestly speaking being at UCT is not easy and it's not something to be taken for granted. Being at UCT means a lot of work and a lot of effort. Coming from a disadvantaged school it was a challenge because I was used to this thing of being spoon fed. Here you have to be on your own. No one will be behind you always pushing and telling you what to do and what not to do." adds Mzoxolo Sitoto.

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(L-R) EDU Senior Curriculum Advisor Robyn Human with Programme Administrator Mariam (Mimi) Suliman. Mimi is a former EDU student.

In 2012, 64 ED students received their undergraduate degrees from the university. Among them, Lance Louskieter who together with fellow student Farzaanah Frieslaar, are the first ED students to gain entry into the highly competitive Psychology honours programmes at UCT. 2013 also saw the launch of two new Foundation courses in the Humanities: Working with texts in the Humanities and Working with concepts in the Social Sciences. Both of these readers are designed to assist ED students transition into academic writing and increase their research competencies. Speaking at the function, Foundation Course Lecturer Idriss Kallon urged students to immerse themselves in their studies and to seize all of the resources available to them. He said that being accepted into the best university in Africa meant that they were part of a group of young, high calibre students on the Continent.

Entertainment at the event was provided by South African College of Music students 'Timosh' (Tim Mashitisho), a third year Jazz Studies and Sociology Major and as well as pianist Ludwe Danxa who is majoring in Jazz Studies. 'Timosh' is currently on the ED programme.

About the Humanities EDU: the EDU coordinates an Extended Degree programme which takes the form of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSc) degree taken over a period of four years. Candidates are selected on the basis of demonstrated potential, academic suitability and commitment. The advantages of being on the extended programme include access to dedicated mentors as well as the ability to better balance course load and student life at UCT.