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Good South African Stories: Changing lives through the power of education

Good Stuff Gwakwani

One such top performing student is Bonginkosi Mchunu. His life changed forever when a PMET representative visited his High school in Kwazulu-Natal.

 

For the past decade, the Pearson Marang Education Trust (PMET) has been working with under-resourced and disadvantaged schools to improve Mathematics, Literacy and Leadership and Management. The Trust works within deep rural primary and high schools across South Africa with a clear mandate to accelerate both teaching and learning in the classroom, therefore achieving clear outcomes.

The Trust also plays a pivotal role to identify top performing students at the high schools they support to offer them an opportunity to further their studies with a full bursary from Pearson Institute of Higher Education (PIHE).

One such top performing student is Bonginkosi Mchunu. His life changed forever when a PMET representative visited his High school in Greytown, Kwazulu-Natal.

“When I learnt about Pearson Institute during my matric year at Buhlebuyeza High School, I was so eager to become a part of this tertiary institution. I was excited by Pearson’s global heritage, and liked the idea of their personalised approach to learning through the use of technology.” he says.

Originally from Mhlangana Village, Bonginkosi was fortunate enough to be the first among his seven siblings to attend a university or receive a tertiary qualification.

He recalls how the headmaster at Buhlebuyeza High School, Mr X Nyoka encouraged him to apply for PMET’s Undergraduate Bursary Programme, a decision that would shape his entire future.

“Through Mr Nyoka and my late mother’s motivation, I applied and was lucky to be awarded a full bursary, which included annual registration and tuition fees, textbooks, a new tablet, accommodation and a monthly living allowance for the duration of my studies. When I first arrived on campus in Durban, everything was so new and modern. I didn’t have any computer skills and my English wasn’t very good (we mostly spoke isiZulu in my village). I wondered how I would manage with these adjustments and if I would be able to make the cut. I knew I had to work hard, I knew I had to make this count.”

Through his tireless dedication to his studies, Bongi managed to obtain his Bachelor of Commerce degree earlier this year (2018) from Pearson Institute, and passed with the honour of ‘Cum Laude’.

“Bongi has an admirable work ethic and is naturally intelligent. The high marks he earned truly epitomises his determination and sheer will to succeed. He is a natural leader and his interpersonal skills make others easily willing to follow his lead. He also has wisdom beyond his years and we are sure that he is going to be an outstanding success,” said Commerce Lecturer, Christopher Chizondo.

In 2017, Pearson invited final year students to apply for its Graduate Development Programme (GDP), a process of placing successful candidates within divisions of its South African business to provide a combination of structured learning and workplace experience.

At the world’s learning company, Pearson believes that learning is the key to unlocking potential thus they are focused on helping individuals of all ages and stages find their path to a robust and fulfilling life. Bonga was selected as one of the successful candidates from over 235 applicants.

“The Graduate Programme means a practical start to my career, it will give me the opportunity to grow my business acumen and become an expert in the business industry. I believe it will be the most important and solid foundation of my career path and enhance the skills I’ve already acquired at PIHE to flourish.”

At Pearson, their mission is to help people make progress in their lives through learning because they believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. Equipping people with the skills they need for employment is a global challenge.

It’s vital for economic success, and it transforms the lives of families. PMET has successfully reached 14 250 teachers, 443 officials, 8 school districts, 7 provinces and 380 000 learners over the last decade. The impact of this worthy initiative is positively impacting the lives of learners and the efforts of disadvantaged schools in our country.


Sources: Pearson
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