The Gauteng provincial government said that they had spent over a billion rand worth of investment on bursary packages since 2014. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The Gauteng provincial government said on Thursday that they had spent over a billion rand worth of investment on bursary packages since 2014. 

"This translates to approximately 13 000 beneficiaries, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to equip young people for the ever-changing global economy," the Gauteng department of education (GDE) said in a statement.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Gauteng MEC (members of executive council) for Education, Panyaza Lesufi, awarded bursaries to the top three performing learners from schools participating in the Secondary Schools Improvement Programme (SSIP), no-fee paying schools, and Learners with Special Education Needs (LSEN) at public ordinary schools programme.

In his keynote address, Premier Makhura warned the bursary recipients about the possible dangers they could face at institutions of higher learning and urged them to remain focused and remember why they are there. 

“University is not easy. However, if you will focus and put your best into your work, you will succeed. We want you to complete your degree or diploma in record time,” said Premier Makhura.

The premier thanked Lesufi for his dedication, commitment and hard work in educating young people, and giving them hope for a future. He also acknowledged the parents for their support and encouraged them to look to the Gauteng Province to educate their children.

“These children would not be here if it was not for your parents. We are proud of you top 3 learners across the system in every school in Gauteng. This province is taking you to school. It doesn’t matter where you come from, whether from a shack or informal settlement, we will assist you and take you to school,” Premier Makhura said.

Lesufi expressed immense pride at what he described as “the generation of innovators, of creatives that come from the smart province".

"This generation comes from our schools and will change the face of this province. Today, we are literally handing over a cheque to each learner in this room that made us proud in 2018," said Lesufi.

"We are giving you a 4-year bursary at the institution of your choice. We are not just giving you a bursary but handing over the future to break the stubborn shackles of poverty. You will not queue for social grants. You are super fit, you are intelligent, you are super smart and you don’t want social grants, you want to build your own houses and create employment for ourselves and for others. We are proud that we at GPG, are giving you the keys to the future."

The GDE said the province took great pleasure in awarding bursaries to over 2 000 learners who passed their Grade 12 in 2018. The learners were given an opportunity to pursue qualifications at recognised higher education institutions or Technical and Vocational Education and Training Colleges of their choice, anywhere in the country.

"Through private sector partners, such as Barloworld, Lazarus Motor Company, Scaw Metals Group, Eurospec Automotives, Muavha Auto Mechanics, Umfundiso and more, the programme has been able to extend its reach with the placement of some graduates."

African News Agency (ANA)