• Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

UCT Student Launches Crowdfunding Platform To Help Fellow Students

ByStaff Reporter

Oct 29, 2021

Section 29 of the South African Constitution consists of a cluster of education rights and has consequently been called a “hybrid” right.

This is because section 29(1) characterises the socio-economic nature of the right whereas sections 29 (2) and (3) are civil and political rights. As a socio-economic right, section 29(1) obliges the government to make education available and accessible to everyone. Section 29(1)(a) in particular entitles everyone to basic education.

The South African Constitutional Court has to date not considered the scope and content of the right to basic education.

It is submitted that the Constitutional Court’s contextual approach to interpretation together with South Africa’s international law obligations calls for an understanding of section 29(1)(a), which guarantees free basic education for disadvantaged learners first before it is extended to more privileged groups.

As South Africans attempt to cope with the socio-economic effects of mounting unemployment, settling college or university fees is often low on the priority list. As a result, an increasing number of higher education students are taking to social media – imploring the public to fund part of their fees to help them reach graduation day.

Tshegofatso Masenya, a fifth-year medical student at the University of Cape Town (UCT), said that more and more tweets from anxious students began appearing on her Twitter timeline. The text messages were practically identical: students need donors to fund what’s left of their college or university fees, or they won’t be allowed to graduate.

Desperate to help, Masenya got down to work. After many late nights and more coffee than her prescribed daily intake, she established GoShare – an online, donation-based crowdfunding platform that allows students to raise funds to cover their outstanding fees.

Spirit of giving

Financial exclusion is a heavy load to bear, and often affects students’ academic performance, their social lives and their mental health. And for those students who have managed to complete their studies but are prohibited from graduating because they were unable to settle their fees in full, Masenya said, it can delay them pursuing excellent professional opportunities. This can have a ripple effect on their careers.

Valuable vehicle for change

For Masenya, entrepreneurship is not just a crucial, empowering tool that holds the power to lift many out of poverty; it also has the potential to create a strong sense of community, and it helps to build and celebrate creativity in many different forms.

Thanks to entrepreneurs’ imagination and resourcefulness, they have the ability to identify gaps in society and transform these gaps into revenue-generating enterprises, while simultaneously advancing job creation.

“Entrepreneurship holds tangible benefits for economic growth and is a powerful tool to drive change in South Africa. But no one is born an entrepreneur; therefore, we have a lot to gain by supporting and mentoring youth initiatives through funding and facilitating access to the market,” Masenya said.

By Siphokazi Mnyobe

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