WHILE students in other higher education institutions are calling for fees to fall, Tsolo Agriculture and Rural Development Institute’s (TARDI) students continued to realise free higher education when Health and Welfare Seta and Eastern Cape Rural Development MEC, Mlibo Qoboshiyane awarded them R15.9 million bursary in Tsolo today, May 26, 2017.
In response to the growing calls for free higher education in the country, the department and the Seta awarded 100% bursaries to about 105 first year (2016 intake) TARDI students studying towards animal health diploma.
This follows the department’s application to the Seta for R15.9 million to help fund education for students coming from poor and rural families who didn’t have money to pay their fees.
Pretty Morrison, second year student, who didn’t have money to pay for her diploma, said after getting the bursary she is now focusing on getting higher grades from her modules.
“The bursary means to me that I can be educated, I can become animal health technician, I can be experienced when I come out of this college, I can go out and help the community.
“I want to be an entrepreneur; I want to start my own sheep farm business because I want to focus on wool production. We have been exposed to sheep and many other animals. But I love sheep.
“I want to invest some of my stipend towards building my business after finishing my studies. I want to help myself and the community,” said Morrison.
TARDI SRC president, Zubenathi Ngxishe, a fees must fall movement activist, said when fees fall South AFRICAN youth will be well educated and equipped to work and move the country forward.
“To me getting a bursary means a lot because I will be able to learn and be able go into the field with everything as the bursary helps me to acquire knowledge and experience. This bursary has paid money so that I can go anywhere in South Africa and help animals.
“To be clearly honest with you, I wouldn’t be able to pay my fees as last year I only managed to pay my registration fees as I didn’t have means to have money,” said Ngxishe, adding that he plans to open a farm to treat animals in rural areas after completing his diploma.
This is the second bursary the Health and Welfare Seta is awarding to the TARDI students, with the first bursary given to 50 students who are currently doing their last year in animal health diploma.
All current 225 TARDI students, who are recipients of the 100% bursary funding from the Health and Welfare Seta to the tune of R23.9 million come from poor rural families that don’t have adequate financial resources to pay for their higher education post matric.
Health and Welfare Seta Eastern Cape Manager, Welekazi Mangaliso said the bursaries are also reducing poverty with a monthly stipend, which students share with their families who have no source of income.
“One of the main purposes of the existence of the Setas is to redress past imbalances. Previously not everybody was able to access scarce skills. This qualification offered here is a scarce skill that will equip these learners to achieve whatever they want in life.
“They can be employed and they can self-employed. As Health and Welfare Seta we decided that it would be a good investment if we give bursaries to these learners,” said Mangaliso.
Qoboshiyane said it was good to see government entities partnering to support students get quality education.
“There is a demand for free high education and students need to understand that they need to be serious on these type of studies.
“They will receive free education for the next three year in the institution. There is a now a call from government to say this free education must be compensated by seriousness of learners to take their studies seriously because there are those that are deserving who didn’t get this kind of support.
“I am happy with what the Health and Welfare Seta is doing in the province of the Eastern Cape. I am optimistic that these students will be of value and assets in their communities,” said Qoboshiyane.
Qoboshiyane said the department is investing in upgrading the TARDI infrastructure.
“We invested about R20 million to upgrade infrastructure facilities like the vet clinic, crop sheds, postmodern facility, palisade fence, dairy parlour and students residents,” said Qoboshiyane.
TARDI offers animal health diploma courses like animal breeding and genetics, aquaculture and wildlife, non ruminant animal production, occupational communication, animal handling and welfare, veterinary anatomy and physiology, animal disease, veterinary microbiology and immunology, ruminant production and pseudo ruminant animal production, veterinary parasitology, veterinary pathology, pasture science and nutrition, veterinary laboratory and diagnostics, ruminant animal production.