By DR ASHLEY WESTAWAY
GADRA Matric School and Rhodes University (RU) share a common purpose of maximising meaningful access to the university for deserving local students. RU has positioned itself as a “locally responsive and globally engaged” university, whilst GADRA’s purpose is to create good quality educational opportunities for all the young people of Makhanda.
One of the most useful indicators of the extent to which GADRA and RU are succeeding in their joint endeavour to make the university accessible, is the number of local students registered on an annual basis as full-time RU students.
We are therefore very proud to report that for the second successive year, in 2023 over 120 students from the GADRA Matric School (GMS), Nombulelo Secondary School, Ntsika High School, Mary Waters High School and Khutliso Daniels Secondary School have been registered as full-time 1st Year students at RU.
On 16 February, RU’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mabizela invited the local students to join him to take commemorative photographs to acknowledge the joint successes of the students, the university and GADRA Education.
Nombulelo Secondary School, Ntsika High School, Mary Waters High Schol and Khutliso Daniels Secondary School all participate in the outstanding 9/10ths mentoring programme. This programme was recognised in 2021 as one of the leading mentoring initiatives in the world. 42 of the registered students emanate from the mentoring programme.
Since 2015, GMS has been Rhodes University’s biggest feeder school. In 2023, there are 80 GMS alumni registered as full-time 1st Year students at RU.
In 2011, only 10 local disadvantaged students registered for full-time 1st Year study at RU. GADRA and RU are therefore proud of the massive advances made in this regard in recent years. But GADRA has set more ambitious targets for the future. It hopes to reach the milestone figure of 200 local disadvantaged students registering for full-time study at RU by the year 2027.
Whilst registering at Rhodes is not a sufficient condition to ultimately graduate from the university with a Bachelor Degree, it is most certainly a necessary condition in this regard. Thus Thursday was an occasion for celebrating and looking forward to the exciting academic challenges that lie ahead.
(Dr Westaway is the director of education at GADRA).