It’s exactly half way through the academic year here in South Africa and so yesterday was the perfect time to catch up with our first year bursary students. With their first four modules completed and the examinations behind them this was their last week back in Masiphumulele before the new semester begins. Next week all five return to Cape Town for the start of four more modules and more long days of study.
Aluncedo has spent the break with family in the Eastern Cape but Zodwa, Ntebuheleng, Andisiwe and Avile all met us for a late breakfast and took the time to update us on their progress so far. And what tremendous progress it has been. All five students have passed all of their respective modules with Avile even modestly announcing his distinction (82%) in computation and numerical analysis. The pass mark for each module is 50% (that’s higher than in many first year courses in Europe and the States!) and everyone made the grade. This is really a huge achievement, which all of the group should be proud of. The first semester of any higher education course can be a serious challenge. For all of the students this is their first experience of living away from home and all of them admitted the step up from high school learning to higher education was a huge leap.
All five students were also pleased with their course content and are satisfied they have made the right choice. Problems with the course material at this level or the move away from home usually materialise in the first semester for new university students. After the first group of modules students usually have a good idea if the course they have chosen is both suitable and enjoyable. The fact that everyone in the group remain confident that they are studying the right course for their future – and of course the 100% pass rate – is a good sign that everything is going well for the group.