A humanities student from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has found a way to improve access to higher education. Ikusasa-Bright is a non-profit organisation founded by Priska Zwane. The organisation focuses on assisting prospective students with applications for tertiary education and funding.
Doing well in high school does not always guarantee that a learner will make it into university. A lack of information and inadequate funding prevents many South African youth from pursuing tertiary qualifications.
Priska’s post-matric plans were to study Economics, but she was rejected by both universities she had applied to. “I only applied for Economics at Wits and UJ because those were the only popular institutions I knew,” she said.
This had put her under a lot of pressure, but she did not give up. Priska decided to do some damage control by researching an alternative. “I browsed the internet and came across UJ late applications where I applied for Public Management and Governance,” she explained.
Even though she did well with her grades, Priska struggled financially throughout her first year. “That’s when I thought to myself, ‘I am not the only one with this kind of problems’,” she remembered.
“So, I started Ikusasa-Bright which simply means ‘bright future’ so that I can help other children with high education institutional applications and also give them information regarding the best courses and funding to apply for,” she continued.
Ikusasa-Bright has a Facebook page “where information regarding applications and funding is [posted] weekly”. Young people without access to the internet submit their information to the organisation. “They are given an option to provide us with their details while we apply for them on their behalf,” Priska said.
The organisation’s efforts have had a positive impact on many students, but the focus is not only on universities.
“Priska gave me information about the TVET college I’m currently enrolled at; I dropped out at grade 11 but managed to continue with my studies there,” said Nomakhosi Mabena, a student at Nkangala TVET College. “I didn’t know much about TVET colleges and that it was possible to get funding.”
“I went to apply with the information provided and had the correct documentation, so I got admitted for Hospitality Studies and I got NSFAS to fund my studies,” she added.
Presenter Malebane is another student that was fortunate enough to cross paths with Priska. “Varsity was never a place I thought I’d [ever set foot] in for years. It was 2016 when she told me to bring along all [of] my documents so we can apply,” said Presenter who is a third-year Industrial Psychology student at UJ.
“My application was successful and got accepted by a bursary she helped [me] to apply for and now am studying and happily funded,” she said.
Priska hopes to get more students enrolled at higher institutions of learning. She would also like the organisation to one day fund the studies of the people she is helping.
(Contact Lineo Lesemane: email@example.com; +27 84 440 7712)