Initially launched in 2001, the degree programme is an initiative designed to address the University's concerns that black students' access to, and success in, the Bachelor of Business Science (BBusSc) programme have not been satisfactory.
The programme, recently renamed the Sanlam Investment Management (SIM) UCT Business Science Extended Curriculum, began with a R4.8-million pledge over five years by the investment management company. It supports talented business and financial sector students unable to register because of stringent entry criteria.
These students have subsequently produced outstanding results in the June examinations. Of the 80 students enrolled in the programme, the top first-year student, Fabian Whate, averaged 79%; while second-year achievers, Suwaybah Candice and Carels Allie, each averaged more than 70% in the exams.
Based in the School of Management Studies, the programme is designed to spread the demanding first two years' workload over three years, enabling students to acquire essential basic knowledge, skills and productive approaches to studying. The workload is increased annually, with graduation in five years, but graduation within four years is not excluded.
"The Bachelor of Business Science degree is highly sought-after as it provides exceptional career opportunities. We saw a need to assist talented candidates from disadvantaged communities to try to ensure they have career opportunities in the financial sector," said Eric Ratshikhopha, general manager of social strategy at SIM.
Forty of the 41 that registered for the first year have progressed into second-year studies, with Jamaludien Rawoot earning 75% for five first-year subjects and Nonhlanhla Ngwenva winning the class medal for microeconomics.
The School of Management Studies' Ramona Francis said: "Students develop at their own pace to ensure that they succeed academically. But the real value of the programme lies in the fact that students have a tremendously supportive environment, one that makes their adaptation from school to university so much more manageable."
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