INSETA-funded BCom students achieve 100% university pass rate

25 March 2014 Sandra Dunn, INSETA
Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of INSETA.

Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of INSETA.

The Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) is thrilled to announce that all 53 Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) Accounting students, funded by INSETA, passed the 2013 academic year, at Rhodes University (41 learners) and North West University (12 learners).

Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of INSETA, said, "Given our country’s history, the development of historically disadvantaged students within the Commerce sector is part of our mission of transformation. Upon the request of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), we welcomed the opportunity to channel funding of approximately R3.5 million through the universities to students for the 2013/2014 financial year.

Luyanda Bheyile, from the administration department at Rhodes University said, "INSETA was absolutely amazing. Their process of funding was short, efficient and straight-forward. They covered tuition and accommodation fees, which included three meals per day, and supplied R2500 per student, for books. INSETA’s funding went a long way to assist with financial aid. Ten first-year and 31 senior students, all from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, were offered full bursaries, and not loans.”

Dunn emphasised that the achievement of the 53 students should be measured within the context and extent of the attrition rates for undergraduate students discussed extensively in a report released in August 2013, by the Council of Higher Education (CHE) called, "A proposal for undergraduate curriculum reform in South Africa: The case for a flexible curriculum structure.” According to the CHE report, the first-year attrition rate, based on the 2006 first-time group entering higher education, was on average: 24% for African students, 34% for Coloured students, 26% for Indian students and 22% for White students. Dunn added, "We are furthermore proud of the wonderful achievement that all first-year students we funded have passed, given that the national average attrition rate for first-year students is 24%.”

The data on first-year attrition and graduation in regulation time support the contention that much of the poor performance in higher education can be attributed to the articulation gap between school and higher education. Moreover, students’ access to, and achievement in higher education, is greatly affected by their socio-economic circumstances.

In South Africa, the majority of black students come from low-income families that do not have the necessary finances to provide for and maintain students through higher education studies. Thus, many students either do not enrol in higher education, or drop out without completing their studies. This leads to a high proportion of those students affected by a lack of finance, also being disadvantaged academically.

The report also states that less than 5% of African and Coloured youth in South Africa succeed in any form of higher education. Only 42% of African students and 43% of Coloured students, in contact universities, graduate within five years. African and Coloured students’ five-year completion rates are under 50% in most programmes.


Completion rates are generally lowest in the Science Engineering and Technology (SET) programmes and in the professional Commerce and Law degrees.
Dunn concluded by saying, "It is thus, a great achievement that all the BCom students INSETA sponsored have passed their 2013 academic year. INSETA’s support of young people’s development and education illustrates how financial assistance can go a long way in helping to transform the nation.”
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