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The Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Accounting Bridging Course has been met with enthused, positive responses and results from students, parents and the Student Representative Council (SRC), as highlighted by DUT’s Financial Accounting lecturer, Brian Ngiba, of the Department of Financial Accounting based at the Ritson Campus.

The Faculty of Accounting and Informatics introduced and implemented an Accounting Bridging Course from 2019, with the motivation for the course coming from realising that many applicants were being rejected by the university because they could not meet the requirements.

Ngiba stressed that the purpose of the course is to allow access to many students who would rather end up being excluded from the system should they not be afforded this opportunity to improve themselves and gain access to the university.

Ngiba said: “Understanding the limitations of our South African education system and the background of many of our students, we could not turn a blind eye whilst the future of many young people was being destroyed. The main problem was that these students would have been told that they have passed matric, which means they could not go back to school but they could not access the university at the same time. They were then doomed for failure,” he said.

Ngiba relayed that in line with the institution’s ENVISION2030 Strategy, this 3rd Stream Income short course dovetails with the two ‘perspectives’ of Society and Sustainability.

“This directly impacts on improving the lives and livelihoods of our society. The course has drawn students from our immediate society and as far as our Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region. The fact that it is a 3rd Stream Income course also contribute to the sustainability of the institution as universities are in dire need to generate 3rd Stream Income to sustain themselves,” he said.

Okuhle Shinga, the class representative of the Accounting Bridging Course, class of 2020, said that the course has paved a way for students to get the opportunity to be part of Accounting mainstream courses at DUT.

“It gave us the opportunity to learn like other students and make our parents proud. We are now in the Accounting mainstream and on the road to graduating because of the Accounting Bridging Course. May this opportunity not be missed by other students that are yet to come because I am certain that it will help and benefit them just like it did to us, the class of 2020. We are also thankful to Mr Brian Ngiba for coordinating such a course,” she said.

For Zanele Ngcobo, a parent of DUT student, Zethembe Ngcobo, her son’s dreams were shattered when he did not meet the requirements to be accepted for a Diploma for the year 2020.

She stressed that she decided to enrol him for an Accounting Bridging Course as per Ngiba’ s advice, and also upon hearing about DUT’s Accounting Bridging Course.

“Through this bridging course, my son was able to get very good marks which boosted his confidence. Even now, I am proud to say he did exceptionally well in his Diploma in Taxation for his first semester. Without a doubt, this bridging course was a good stepping stone for him. He is so happy and no longer intimidated by the huge university. He even told me that he wants to make me proud and to continue excelling in his studies,” she said excitedly.

Zethembe Ngcobo, currently a first-year Taxation student at DUT, expressed his heartfelt thanks to the DUT for having introduced the Accounting Bridging Course.

“It has taken me to new heights and gave me more inspiration to study Accounting, especially the taxation side of it where my love for the subject has grown. If it was not for the course, I would still be surely sitting at home wasting more precious time when I could have been studying to better myself. It has benefited me a lot since I came out of High School knowing nothing about Accounting, it has really helped me understand Accounting in such a short time, but not only that it has helped my fellow peers too,” he said.

Ngcobo happily conveyed further that he has passed his first semester in Taxation with two distinctions.

“This would not have been possible if it were not for the Accounting Bridging Course and my mother’s support in paying the tuition fees which was not easy since she is a single parent and NSFAS did not cover the course. Overall, l would like to say it was all worth it because it has opened new doors and gave me a confidence boost to do better and it has made my expectations of studying for taxation go even higher,” he said.

Going forward, Ngcobo has indicated that he aims to study towards a Master’s degree in Taxation.

The SRC’s Deputy Secretary General, Abongiwe Majikija, also shared their gratitude and appreciation to the Department of Financial Accounting.

Majikija expressed that it has been wonderful witnessing the appreciation of students being accepted into the university through the Accounting Bridging Course.

“Most of the time we feel very helpless because we normally have no alternatives to suggest to students. The Accounting Bridging Course has been our saving grace for students seeking space in the Accounting field. This course has opened doors for many students and we are grateful to the Financial Accounting Department for coming up with such a great idea,” she said.

Majikija, stressed that she wished all departments at DUT could consider such courses.

“Our fellow students are coming from different backgrounds, from different provinces. Some are coming from rural areas which are deprived of many resources enjoyed by kids from urban areas. One of those is a good schooling system. This fails a lot of students who are hard-working but lack exposure to resources. Having a bridging course or foundation programmes is very progressive and should be celebrated as it shows that the university is serious about providing access to education,” she stressed.

Professor Colin Thakur, Head of the Short Course Unit stated: “We encourage departmental initiatives. DUT’s goal is access to as many students as possible. We recognise that some students have the requisite points yet may lack the academic grounding to enter a particular programme. These students may undertake our bridging programmes to determine if they a) enjoy the programme and b) wish to apply for placement. We are obliged to point that places are limited and that bridging programme students compete for limited placement opportunities.”

Pictured: DUT’s Financial Accounting lecturer, Brian Ngiba.

Waheeda Peters

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