Imfundo Trust: 15 students get bursaries
Stellenbosch University (SU) hosted the official launch of the Imfundo Trust, a scholarship initiative of the Old Mutual Investment Group (OMIGSA) that aims to address the shortage of black investment professionals and grow the pool of suitably qualified individuals in the asset management industry on Monday.
Among the guests at the event were various role players of OMIGSA and the Imfundo Trust, Stellenbosch University’s Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector: Teaching and Dr Jerome Slamat, Senior Director: Community Interaction as well as the 13 BComm and two BScAgric SU students who will benefit from the Trust in the form of bursaries to the value of R4 million over four years.
Prof Fourie, who delivered the welcoming address, said the University would support the students and make sure they succeed. She told guests about SU’s First-Year Academy (FYA) that was implemented for the first time in 2007. The FYA is a comprehensive University initiative to improve the success rate of first-year students by facilitating early assessment, teaching and learning coordination points, tutor and mentor programmes and residence education programmes. As far as student success is concerned, Stellenbosch University is among the top 3 learning institutions with a pass rate of 82%.
Prof Fourie said the focus on bursaries has increased as part of the University’s HOPE Project. “Bursaries are a way of bringing hope to a student who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to study. However, we need partners like you to help us. We’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership,” she added.
The Imfundo Trust (“Imfundo” means “education” in Zulu), will spend approximately R20 million over the next five years, and will focus on assisting deserving black students – with a special focus on women – to acquire tertiary training at selected top South African universities: Stellenbosch University, the University of South Africa, University of Johannesburg, Fort Hare University and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. The Trust will meet the concerned universities twice a year to assess the progress of students.
The students were given the assurance by Ms Rojie Kisten, Chairperson of the Imfundo Trust, that they will get support to succeed, but that they should also strive to be well-rounded citizens. She urged them to give their best. “Work hard, don’t waste this opportunity, don’t disappoint yourselves and don’t disappoint your parents.”
Ms Kisten stressed that the students will have no obligation to work for OMIGSA following the completion of their studies, because the aim is to increase the pool of qualified black investment professionals available to the entire asset management industry.
As part of their training students will be required to do community work during holidays to fulfil one of the Trust’s objectives of developing responsible citizens as well as investment professionals who are firmly grounded in the socio-economic challenges of South Africa.
Dr Slamat thanked OMIGSA for choosing Stellenbosch University as one of its partners and for not only giving money but also time and expertise. “This is bound to be successful,” he added.