The department of Public Works and Infrastructure aims to sponsor and fund more students interested in pursuing careers in the built environment.

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure has awarded 100 bursaries to the Class of 2023 who chose to pursue built environment courses at different South African universities.

The department hosted its 10th bursary scheme awards on Thursday where Minister Sihle Zikalala commended the pupils for their exceptional matric results and expressed gratitude to their teachers and guardians.

Crown Jewels

“You are the crown in the jewel, and today we sing your praises for demonstrating that paying attention and putting in effort pays,” said Zikalala.

In an interview, Zikalala told the SABC there is a gap in the built environment industry which the bursary hopes to close.

“We aim to transform the industry… The industry used to be white and male dominated.

“We have achieved a particular level of integration with young girls entering the built environment industry and we would like to support that,” said Zikalala.

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According to SA News, Zikalala acknowledged the historical significance of the bursary receipients accomplishments as they pay tribute to the youth of 1976 who revolted against the discriminatory Bantu Education system.

“The inferior Bantu Education sought to turn education for the black majority into an instrument of racial subjugation and guarantor for the supply of cheap black labour,” he said.

According to the Minister, over 500 students have benefited from the initiative so far.

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Desired outcome and entry criterion

“There is a practical expression of this project’s success. One of the students who benefited from this programme now works in one of the regional offices and is instrumental in building the capacity of the state,” he said.

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Marginalized students are prioritized in the allocation of these bursaries, however, the criteria also include Mathematics and Science students who have averages above 65%.

The beneficiaries of the bursary will receive full funding throughout their time in university.

“The estimated budget per student is R177 500. This amount varies based on the institution and study programme. The department has allocated a budget of R17 800 000 for the 2024 academic year new intake,” Zikalala added.

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