Speaking at the event, ISFAP Chairman Sizwe Nxasana reminded partners where the programme began and its successes so far: “I feel like a proud father standing in front of you this evening. When we launched ISFAP as a Pilot programme at the height of the 2017 “fees must fall” crisis, we could not have foreseen the huge role we would play in the national effort to solve the funding challenge of ‘missing middle’ students. To date, ISFAP has given more than 1 800 students the chance to attend one of our 12 partner institutions of higher education to complete a tertiary degree leading to a career in one of 11 Occupations of High Demand that the Human Resource Development Council has deemed as crucial to uplift and strengthen the future of the South African economy. Today, our 143 graduates stand in front of you as the first among many who are ready to enter the job market with the skills our country so desperately needs.”
Nxasana went on to thank over 40 donors and partners for investing their time, skills and resources into donating over R840 million towards this cause from inception to-date. He explained that not only did their contributions go toward funding the financial needs of these students but also built an advanced and unique student management platform. The funding has also been invested to support their psycho-social, additional academic and life-skills needs through ISFAPs comprehensive wrap-around support programme. In doing so, ISFAP has been able to achieve a significantly higher rate of success and lower drop-out rate as it works to fast-track its role in aiding the country reduce the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
TP Nchocho, Industrial Development Corporation CEO, echoed these thoughts: “So much money gets wasted by students spending more time than necessary to complete their degrees. ISFAP’s ecosystem of student support dramatically reduces this. We are proud to fund a programme that helps students succeed in record time.”
ISFAP helps young people reach their fullest potential
Speaking on behalf of the students, Njabulo Prosperity Shabangu, a final year nursing student at the Tshwane University of Technology expressed her gratitude for all the fund has done to help her realise her dream: “As a top matric, it was devastating to spend a year at home because my parents couldn’t afford to further my education. You can just imagine my disappointment and fear that my dreams would never come true. But thanks to ISFAP, I will soon realise those dreams as I walk away with a degree that will help me further my future.
Following Shabangu’s story, outgoing VC of the University of Witwatersrand, Adam Habib illustrated the value of a degree in South Africa: “Around 8.2 million (40.1%) of SA's 20.4 million young people aren’t in employment, education or training. Yet SA's graduate unemployment rate is between 6% & 7.5%. We simply can't discount the value of higher education and why it is so crucial for the private and public sector to partner in order to reimagine how to fund higher education for our youth.”
The dinner was attended by graduates, university partners and senior executives of distinguished companies including ISFAP’s founding members: Business Leadership South Africa, The Banking Association, The Association of Savings and Investments in South Africa, First Rand Foundation and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.
This is how you can be part of the solution to fund students like Shabangu, contact ISFAP at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you or your organisation can get involved.