THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has resolved to offer its social welfare education grant to Advanced Level students following revelations that beneficiaries were failing to proceed beyond Ordinary Level due to financial problems.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The local authority pays tuition fees for the disadvantaged and orphans at council-run primary schools in the city. The programme also caters for underprivileged secondary school pupils.
As of present, BCC has 296 Ordinary Level students receiving educational grants, up from 232 in 2017 after the local authority added more secondary schools to the programme, including Eveline, Founders, Gifford, Hamilton, Milton, Townsend, Montrose and Northlea High.
“It has been noted that over the years, some students who would have done well do not proceed to Advanced Level due to financial constraints because their circumstances would not have changed over the years,” the latest council report on health, housing and education read.
“Failure by students to continue with their studies results in redundancy, which usually leads to delinquency and indulgence in risky behaviour. It is, therefore, recommended that council extends the Bursary scheme to Advanced Level for the benefit of qualifying learners who would have excelled in their Ordinary Level,”reads the report.
Seventy-four students under BCC’s education scheme sat for the 2018 Ordinary Level examinations, with council paying for a maximum of six subjects, while parents and guardians paid for the remaining subjects.
The beneficiaries recorded a 73% pass rate.
“The failure to obtain good results by some of the bursary recipients was attributed to factors such as lack of basic schooling resources, parental guidance and supervision, because some of these students are orphans and from child-headed households,” the report read.
“In some instances, the home environment is not conducive for children to study during their spare time. In an effort to assist these vulnerable students, social workers conduct regular home and school visits in order to monitor school performance and behaviour of the students so as to provide them with the necessary support.”