At a West Coast Enterprise Development Summit in 2009, all spheres of government and industry acknowledged that the pursuit of wealth and economic and social development cannot happen without education and training.
As the lead training provider in the district, West Coast College is increasingly being recognized and called upon to participate in various community and stakeholder fora to address challenges of skills and economic development needs.
The task of skills provisioning and economic development require significant investment in the education system of our country. Similarly, West Coast College faces formidable socio-economic challenges as we roll out our plans in pursuit of our objectives.
We receive funding from the Department of Higher Education covering 80% of the programme fee with 20% of the fee payable by the student. For example: The Office Administration Programme has been costed by the state at R20 000,00 (Full costing including salaries, buildings, water and electricity etc – in some programmes it is under costed). The college receives R15 000,00 from the state and the R5 000,00 must be payable by the student.
However, many of the students hail from traditional rural communities and unable to afford the fees due. Based on affordability test called the Means Test, 95% of the students qualify for full bursaries meaning that the household has an annual income of less than R60 000 per annum. Most households annual income bracket is between R6 000 – R30 000 per annum.
In this respect, we receive funding from the Department of Higher Education TVET Bursary Fund administered by National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to support students. The fund however, only covers about 70% of the current student population. With the types of programmes and the financial aid that we are offering, the college is making an impact on many more poor students to become socially and economically empowered in the West Coast. But a large percentage of the student population can’t be assisted and are directed to student loan schemes, external Financial Aid trusts etc and still there is a big gap.
Furthermore, the social pathologies impacting on our education system and academic performances; including student retention and throughput continue to pose steep challenges. Three of the major factors that exacerbate these challenges are transport, accommodation and nutrition. For example, 50% require transport and 30% require residence accommodation.
The feeding area of West Coast College is rural in nature and most of its occupants are seasonal workers and farm workers. There is not a big congestion of students in one single town to sustain a campus and we have to be innovative and combine students from different towns, hence our big need for transport and accommodation for students.
It is for these reasons that we have to look for additional sources of funding. The College Management established a Financial Aid Fund which was launched on 1 October 2010 to augment and support current financial aid programmes and to widen access to the college for students in the rural areas.
Contributors to the fund include the following persons/organisations:
- Atlantic Sands
- Stefanutti Stocks Mechanical
- University Bookshop
- Dwaggas Salt Mine
- West Coast Technical Bursary Trust, funded by mostly Tronox Mine and Cape Lime
As a college our challenges are huge and we can only succeed in our mandate of skills provisioning with the help of partners like yourself. Should you wish to contribute to this valuable course, please find linked the donation form. Donations can be deposited into our Banking Account:
Deposit can be faxed to our offices: 022 487 3983. Contact Ms R. Hamza on email@example.com or 022 482 1143 for further information.