More than 1000 Grade 11 and 12 learners in the Eastern and Southern Cape are attending three Accounting Winter Schools this week (4 to 8 July), one in George and two in Port Elizabeth, run by Nelson Mandela University’s School of Accounting.
The annual Winter Schools are the springboard for learners to boost their accounting results – and an opportunity for companies such as Deloitte, PwC and Investec (which are providing funding for the schools) to sow into the future pool of business professionals in South Africa.
Grade 12 Masiphathisane High learner Lumka Nobetsiki, 17, is attending the Grade 12 Winter School to boost her marks, to enable her to pursue her dream to be an economist.
“There are so few black economists. Last year, I attended the Grade 11 Winter School and my marks improved from level 4 (50 to 59%) to level 6 (70 to 79%). This year, I’m hoping the School will help me to improve my Grade 12 finals marks.”
But besides the academic focus of the winter school, Nobetsiki said she was also “learning a lot about the sacrifices [one needs to make to be successful] and about believing in myself”.
“Last year, more than 60 per cent of the learners who attended the Winter Schools showed improved results (comparing their June and December exams), some improving by as much as 30 percentage points,” said NMMU Accounting Lecturer and Coordinator of the Schools, Ansulene Prinsloo.
“For some of these pupils, attending the school is the difference between them passing or failing Accounting, obtaining their distinction or not and see for themselves that anything is possible.”
The school is also an opportunity for NMMU to showcase its programmes and share information about higher education in general, including the application process, the admission points system required for university entrance (which is based on marks attained in Grade 11 and 12) and bursary information. There are also motivational talks from University students (tutors during the school) and from graduates now working in the industry.
Prinsloo said one of the main messages she hoped pupils would take from the Schools was that “university education is possible for anyone, provided you work hard”.
Collegiate High Grade 11 learner Natasha Bakker, 17, said: “It’s nice to experience the university and campus life … I’m looking at going into medicine, and I know the accounting skills [I’m learning] will help with the book work as a doctor.”
Motherwell Grade 11 learner Siyanda Gubayo, 16, who is hoping to become a Chartered Accountant, said the information was preparing learners for future business careers. “We are learning how to handle the assets of a business.”
Pearson High Grade 12 pupil Conor Auld, 18, who is planning on studying towards a BCom (Marketing and Sales) degree, said he was hopeful the School would “improve his marks, to get a better point score [for university entrance].”
NMMU second year BCom (Chartered Accountancy) student Siseko Maninjwa, who attended the Winter Schools when he was a learner, is now a tutor at the School. “It’s nice to see someone who is struggling finding a passion for accounting, getting good marks, and reaching their goals for a better future.”
Prinsloo said the Winter School programme was taught using the School of Accounting’s highly-acclaimed teaching model – which includes a combination of lectures, tutorial classes and homework.
The learners in the Winter Schools are also assigned mentors from PwC and Deloitte’s, for further support – recognising that the development of strong life skills are an important ingredient to be a successful learner / student.
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