Agri-student thankful for successful citrus bursary scheme

Agriculture student Chummy Khoza is one of the grateful beneficiaries of the Citrus Academy Bursary Fund.

MALALANE – Most people have an opinion about the #FeesMustFall campaign and it acted as a great catalyst to look at the structural wrongs in the higher education system. But there are also countless education success stories that seldom reach the media. One of these is the Citrus Academy Bursary Fund.

Founded by the Citrus Growers Association, this fund is quietly changing the lives of many South Africans for the better, enabling them to get a good education relevant to the industry.

This is particularly noteworthy, considering the latest youth unemployment statistics from Statics SA – 37,5 per cent of 15 to 34 year olds in the second quarter of this year.

To date the Citrus Academy’s Bursary Fund has had a 94 per cent course completion rate.

It has awarded 592 bursaries since its inception in 2006 and of which, 292 beneficiaries were females.

Fields of study at the academy are related to citrus production and research. These include plant production, production management, plant pathology, horticulture, soil science, entomology, and agricultural economics.

The fund also enables students – many of who would otherwise not have had access to this calibre of education – to embark on relevant courses at various institutions throughout the country.

Chummy Khoza, a former resident of Malalane, is one of the students who has benefited from this great initiative. “My default career option was nursing though in retrospect, I am glad the application was rejected. My current agricultural management course is a perfect fit for me.”

She is currently doing a diploma course in agricultural management at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University for a diploma course in agricultural management and was awarded a bursary by the Citrus Academy Bursary Fund.

She truly values this opportunity to get a good education. “What sets this bursary fund apart is that it also exposes its beneficiaries to practical industry work, to gain invaluable experience while studying. This is a sure-fire way to prepare us for working in the industry. I look forward to the day when milestones in SA’s higher education will gain the type of media traction that #FeesMustFall has. And, who knows, they may even coin a hashtag of their own while they are at it,” she remarked.

Any citizen of South Africa, Swaziland or Zimbabwe who is studying a course related to agriculture at a recognised tertiary institution in South Africa can apply for this bursary. Students are only supported from their second year of study.

For more information on the Citrus Academy Bursary Fund, visit www.citrusacademy.org.za.

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