Standard Bank recently awarded bursaries to four students studying Cyber Security, Forensic Science and Actuarial Science at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), the University of Free State and Stellenbosch University as part of its annual bursary programme.
The recipients are Namalwa Amakali, a second year Bachelor’s in Forensic Science student at the University of Free State as well as Muningandu Tjingaete and Petros Kambinda, who are second- and third-year Cyber Security students at NUST, respectively, and Lara Bartholomae, a first year Actuarial Science student at Stellenbosch University.
Speaking at a bursary award handover ceremony in Windhoek, Standard Bank Head of HR, Isdor Angula, said the bursary recipients are almost guaranteed employment at the Blue Bank, which employs close to 2,000 people in Namibia and 50,000 across the globe. Angula added that the awardees were carefully selected out of over 1,000 students who had applied for financial assistance. He advised the students to focus on their studies to avoid failing modules because that would result in them forfeiting their bursaries. “A number of previous recipients didn’t take advantage of the opportunity from Standard Bank and they redirected the funds from the bank to socialising and ended up failing. The bursary conditions are clear that you will forfeit the bursary if you fail, so please make use of the great opportunity,” Angula said.
He emphasised that Standard Bank will not allow the students to change their courses midstream because the bank has reason for sponsoring a particular course. The bursary recipients are expected to undergo internship training during school holidays at different Standard Bank branches and departments across the country, where they will also be paid an allowance. As part of the bursary scheme agreement, Standard Bank will pay for all the students’ tuition and living expenses, including a monthly allowance, accommodation costs and an additional four flights per year to students studying outside the country.
One of the bursary recipients, Amakali said she wants to specialise in forensic pathology upon completion of her bachelor’s degree. “Forensic science is a field that is overlooked in the country, and in most cases when forensic scientists are needed they are brought in from other countries. I want to motivate other students to take up the same studies so that Namibia can stop relying on expatriates,” Amakali said, adding that most people in the country are not aware of the course and its importance.
“They don’t know what it is about because most kids want to become doctors or engineers, and it’s something that I want to change. I only know of one forensic scientist in Namibia, Dr Ludick.” Amakali advises students who want to have a future in forensic science that they should be self-driven, shouldn’t have a police record and they should not be afraid of seeing dead bodies, adding that she was motivated to take up forensic science after watching a lot of CSI programmes on TV.
“I just fell in love with what they were doing,” she said thanking Standard Bank for the opportunity to finish her studies which costs N$43,000 per year.
Tjingaete said her financial challenges at home forced her to seek assistance from Standard Bank. “My mother is the father figure in our family. I never had support from my dad, who unfortunately passed on two years ago. We are a lot for my mom, so it’s quite hard for her to support us,” she said.
Tjingaete thanked Standard Bank for giving her the opportunity to further her studies, adding that she feels lucky to be selected as one of the recipients of this year’s bursary programme.
“We are a lot of students that have financial problems and this causes a lot of us to drop out of school and go work as casuals just to save up for tuition fees.”
She said the bursary will motivate her to do better in class as she doesn’t have to worry about financial challenges anymore. “I only need to concentrate on my studies,” Tjingaete said.
Kambinda said university education has become so expensive that many people who come from poor financial backgrounds, like him, have limited opportunities to further their studies. “I come from a background where even if all my family members were to put all their hands on deck, they would still not be able to pay for my studies. My mother is unemployed and my dad is a stock controller at a furniture shop. I would like to thank Standard Bank for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to thank Standard Bank because this bursary means that I will be able to do my internship here at the bank,” Kambinda said.
Standard Bank Head: Marketing, Communications and CSI, Magreth Mengo, said the bursary programme is a very important project of the bank, geared towards training the country’s future leaders who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to realise their potential. “Our bursary programme is designed in a way that it gives academically gifted students from all backgrounds the opportunity to study at any regional university of their choice so that they can help contribute to the growth of our country and economy. “
“We at Standard Bank are happy to play our part in making dreams come true for these gifted recipients, who all have a vision for a better Namibia. It is my hope that this year’s recipients will take full advantage of this great opportunity granted to them by the Bank and excel in their various fields. I wish them the best of luck,” Mengo said.