The top notch education and wide variety of activities offered at Penryn Prep School once seemed an impossible ideal for ten youngsters from local townships. This has, however, become a reality for these high achievers through the Penreach Shalamuka Bursary Project.
The ten scholars hail from Kanyamazane and Kabokweni. One is doing grade three, six are doing grade 4 and three are busy with grade six. The bursary programme promotes a culture of academic excellence by providing comprehensive educational and psycho-social support to academically gifted and financially deserving scholars from local community schools.
The 10 outdid 100 of their peers in a grilling recruitment process. Only 18 out of 109 candidates were invited for placement tests and interviews. The selection criteria is excellent performance in maths and English and a level seven achievement and a 75 per cent mark of all subjects combined.
The bursary covers tuition fees, all school trips, school uniform and sports kit, after-care support and stationery. They are also transported to and from school every day and receive daily packed lunches.
Ms Sanette Mattheus, programme director, said the candidates needed to show a great deal of discipline and responsibility. “We placed great emphasis on their ability to demonstrate leadership abilities, values that are in line with the Penryn culture to excel in both academics, sports, culture and community involvement” she said. Penreach is proud to be associated with this particular bursary programme as both Penryn and Penreach is serious about providing quality education to one and all South Africans.
“This is part of Penryn College’s ethos of reaching out to the community and make quality education accessible to all South Africans,” Mattheus said.
The programme also recognises that parents play a vital role in the progress of their children. They are expected to attend school meetings and events so that they know where to help.
Ms Thandeka Nonyane’s 10 years-old daughter, Asanda Mafuleka, is one of the bursary beneficiaries. Nonyane said she has always dreamed of a private school education for her children. “She always did well in school but I couldn’t do anything to offer her the best education,” she said.
Another parent, Ms Sarah Ratnarajah, says the bursary has eased a financial burden on her family, “This bursary has changed our lives. I don’t know how we would have managed to afford quality education without it,” she said.