By Qhawekazi Memani – 01 December 2020
Students who received laptops from IBM
The Vaal University of Technology (VUT), through the office of the former Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Gordon Zide launched a “Champion a Student” Campaign in 2017 which attracted funders like De Beers, Frigoglass SA, CBI, Afrisam, and Liquid Telecom SA. Liquid Telecom was the first organization to pledge their support for the campaign by signing an MOU with VUT to offer full bursaries to 10 BTech (advanced diploma) students and 1 MTech student to the value of R47 000 per annum from 2017 – 2019. For the year 2020, the organization has now subsequently increased the amount to R100 000 per student.
IBM is the latest company to join the campaign by generously funding four (4) academically deserving students in the ICT Field. According to IBM, its growth strategy necessitates a continuous supply of ICT Professionals, and given the shortage of ICT professionals, IBM offers bursaries within this field develop the necessary skills.
“IBM approached the office of the Director: Marketing & PR in July 2020, offering bursary opportunities for students studying towards ‘ICT-focused degrees’ from undergraduate through to B-Tech (Advanced diploma). The applicants had to have an average of 60% pass for their diploma,” shared Thenji Motaung, Administrator to the Director: Marketing & Public Relations.
Four (4) lucky VUT students were awarded bursaries and laptops in a selection process conducted by IBM. The laptops were delivered and handed over to the excited students on Tuesday, 24 November 2020, by the Director: Marketing & Public Relations, Kediemetse Mokotsi.
The excited students expressed the following words of gratitude:
“I would like to formally acknowledge everyone who participated in this opportunity for your generosity which has allowed me to further my education, more special after spending almost ten months studying IT without having access to a computer and relying on computers at the library meanwhile it closes early because of the lockdown regulations. Despite what I faced throughout the year when my application was approved, I was too excited, and I immediately informed my family about the good news. They are also as grateful for what you have done for me. With this bursary, I will now be able to afford accommodation, tuition, the computer, and other allowances, which was the major struggle for me and my family. It was something that they could not promise to give to me because they could not afford it since they are all elders in nearly 70s. I have overcome this challenge because there are always people and/or organizations that are always there to help those who are in need and I finally got assistance through IBM,” Rito Khosa.
William Malatjie said, “I thank IBM for being this generous. I was delighted and appreciative to learn that I was selected as your bursary program recipient. I am an Information and Communication Technology Master student who majors in Business Analysis and Information Systems. I plan to pursue a career in Business Analysis upon graduating from the Vaal University of Technology. Thanks to you, I am one step closer to my goal”.
“2020 wasn’t a normal academic year due to unprecedented times we have all had to endure. We have had to adjust to the new normal with the Covid19 pandemic. It changed the scope of academics and corporates. Unfortunately, more and more South Africans lost their lives and livelihoods while our pressured economy took a hit. However, companies like IBM continued to provide support to less privileged young people like myself who strive to empower themselves through education, who have given us courage with financial assistance that there’s still hope and time to finish studies and kickstart our careers. Let me take the stretch to send my heartfelt gratitude to IBM for the financial assistance provided to me to further my studies in Advanced Diploma: Information Technology at the Vaal University of Technology for the academic year 2020 and the excellent VUT staff that lent a helping hand in this process, said ” Dimakatso Mashatola.
Gugu Manyama said “It is an honour to be one of the awarded applicants for the IBM Bursary at VUT within the 2020 academic period. I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who facilitated the process in every respective way. First and foremost, this year has been a very abnormal year and the hope of receiving financial assistance for this particular year was improbable until IBM came to our liberty. This form of generosity will not be in vain as I intend to be an asset to this endorsement as mentioned in my motivational letter, the reason being that I would like to also give back into this symbiotic relationship that has been established with IBM.
Additionally, I would like to mention that this sponsorship is not just funding but empowerment. I say this because of the inclusion of laptops above the expected coverage. An initiative like this will not only endorse academic excellence but it will also close the socio-economic gap of not being able to acquire proper computers essential for effective learning in our career field. I hope that we can be given a platform to do vacation work to put our knowledge into good use and to gain insight into the workplace for prospective workplace transition.
Furthermore, I am inspired by all the principles of advancement that IBM upholds, and I hope this opportunity pioneers a technological drive in our faculty so that we can become the change we would like to see in our Institution. It is honestly a privilege to be awarded sponsorship by IBM and I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation in conclusion to every person who made this opportunity a possibility. Thank you so much for your consideration”.
All the recipients of this generous gesture are Information Technology students as per IBM’s specifications.