– Exceptional underprivileged students to be given the opportunity to realise their potential through university education –
Cape Town, South Africa –While the South African government continues to make progress in improving access to education, currently only 1% of all youth in South Africa complete their studies at university level. Announced today, up to 500 students will be given the opportunity to further their studies at a tertiary institution over the course of the next five years.
The scholarship program, fully funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, is initially aimed specifically at students wanting to pursue careers in commerce and law. Importantly the Dell Young Leaders program places no restrictions on the students post-graduation. They are free to apply for employment at any company of their choosing. Each scholarship, worth R150,000 will be given to students who have shown extraordinary potential, but do not have the financial means to study at tertiary level.
This year 25 students will be identified at the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a larger rollout commencing in 2011.
“The Dell Young Leaders program is an opportunity for us to help build future leaders of South Africa by ensuring talented students are not locked out because of financial hurdles,” says Michael Dell, co-founder of the Dell family foundation.
“We are very excited to be working with UCT, given its reputation for supporting first generation university students who develop into competent and capable graduates.”
The Dell Young Leaders program provides students not only with tuition fees, but also technology, resources and mentoring to ensure they have the support they need to obtain a university degree and successfully enter the workforce. The program believes in a wrap-around approach, whereby students are equipped to graduate, gain employment and achieve professionally in the long term.
Serving as a flagship for the foundation’s future work in South Africa, the Dell Young Leaders program will highlight the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s commitment to changing the life trajectory of disadvantaged young people. Through its recently opened office in Cape Town, the foundation will continue to manage its sub-Saharan grants and focus on building up a strong portfolio in South Africa. The foundation will spend the coming year working closely with NGOs to learn about local needs, identifying the strongest programs that produce measurement impact, and expanding the new Dell Young Leaders bursary program.