One of the most important ways to develop a country is to help it develop competent capable leaders who are able to negotiate the complexity of operating in a rapidly changing economic and social world. Studying at University level for a Bachelor’s degree also build analytical skill and the ability to think critically about problems. These are important skills for the leaders who are going to be able to make a difference and take South Africa forward.
Aims of the project
The Soul Leadership project was established to assist strong students that lack economic means to study for a three year undergraduate degree. We further hope that they will broader leadership skills through studying towards a bachelors degree:
• Sound analytical and critical thinking skills and master professional competence in their chosen field.
• The opportunity to gain a broad understanding the multiple social, economic, political and philosophical issues that affect life in the contemporary age.
• Become grounded, whole, competent individuals who have been given the mentoring they need to develop themselves on an emotional / psychological level.
Rationale for the Project
In South Africa the policy of apartheid created a society in which the markers of race where submerged within class. The result of this has been that black people are largely confined to the working classes and underemployed classes while white people remain largely based within the middle classes and upper class. Post establishment of South Africa’s democracy twenty years ago a neo-liberal capitalist economy was set in place and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and Affirmative Action (AA) were strongly supported as mechanisms through which a new black middle and upper class could be developed. Without good education and the establishment of new black professionals, BEE and AA programmes become unworkable as there are not competent people skilled to take up management positions.
The rationale for this project is to take seriously the need for good education as one of the most important ways in which to develop young people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds but who have the potential to become competent leaders in business and society. In the current South African context the largest shortage of funding at a tertiary level is at the undergraduate level and this is the very level at which bright, gifted young people need access to tertiary education in order to realise their potential. The National Research Foundation (NRF) and the multiple private scholarship and bursary foundations make comparatively more funding available to postgraduate students than for undergraduate students, making it important for more funding to become available to potential students at the undergraduate level.
The second rationale for this project is not just to offer funding to students but continual mentorship throughout their undergraduate degree so that the students cope with the demands not only made on them by student life but also prepares them for the business world.
The third rationale of the project is to offer funding that will prepare students for a leadership role in business by broadening their understanding of the world by not asking them to choose career-focused degrees at the very beginning of their undergraduate degrees. This means that students will be encouraged to choose courses that broaden their understanding of society, economics, philosophy and the humanities within the three years of their degree, rather than encouraging them to specialise from their second year of study.
How do we implement this?
All applicants will be screened through an interview, a selection test, references and a review of their academic achievements, sporting interests, emotional maturity and community engagement.
A selection committee will be established comprising of a senior academics (currently employed at a university), someone who works in Human Resources and someone who works in Industry. The selection tests will be administered and designed by the academic and Human Resources specialist. Each student selected for the programme will have all the tuition paid for during the course of their degree if they maintain a pass rate in all their subjects. While they are eligible for the programme they will have their semester living expenses, books and travel costs paid. Each student will be assigned a mentor whom they will meet with once a month through out their degrees. These mentors will be people who are successful in their chosen careers, have an undergraduate degree and work within the field that the students are interested in entering.
Each year the performance of the students will be reviewed and only those students who have met with their mentors, have a good report from their mentors and have passed all their courses will have their scholarships renewed. Each student will be given a scholarship but on completion of their degrees they will be asked to make yearly donations to the trust.
During the summer holidays the students will be required to do 3 months internships at a company affiliated to the Soul Provider Trust.
The program is overseen by Soul Provider Trustee Rev Prof Maria Frahm-Arp of the University of Johannesburg and Prof Louise Whittaker of Wits Business School.
The cost of supporting a Bachelor of Commerce student in this way for one year is R96 000 (about US$9000). This is made up as follows:
- R 35 000.00 tuition
- R 24 000.00 for accommodation
- R 24 000.00 for food, clothes, stationery
- R 8 000.00 transport during term time.
- R 5 000.00 for books
Total cost R 96 000.00
Each student will then need this amount for three years taking into consideration an increase for inflation.
Help us build South Africa’s future by build strong and well educated leaders for the future.
If We raise more than Our target amount, this is how we will use the moneyThe Soul Provider Trust has a number of projects focused on social development including Soul Food, Lifestraw® Home Water Filter and Khumbul'ekhaya. Any funds that we raise in excess of the target for this project will be re-directed to these projects in a way that ensures the money is used most effectively.
Danita Da Costa