Ever since my daughter went into High School a few years back, the conversation that I’ve always had in my head – what I call a personal ‘bosberaad’ has been about whether I have saved enough for her to be sorted for University.
Yes, I took up an education policy when she was much younger but with education fees having gone up so much over the years – this question keeps on lingering on my mind.
You see my daughter is currently working very hard at school so that she can go to University to do a BSc in Information Technology – she has said that she wants to be a ‘Software Engineer’.
Both my mom and I fall into the BBT (Born-Before Technology) generations, so we definitely need another technology savvy person in our family besides my cousin who is currently a Technology expert and is carrying the entire family.
Also, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) now on our doorsteps and the COVID period having emphasized the importance of technology in our lives more so for our businesses and the country’s economy – I definitely support her dreams to go into a technology-focused career.
However, supporting my daughter’s dreams doesn’t just end with me motivating her – it also means great financial planning and stability. I’ve seen first-hand how education can change one’s life – how it has moved a lot of families from poverty to prosperity.
It is also very important to make sure that our kids study towards professions that will ensure that after all that money is invested in their education then, it doesn’t go to waste. The biggest challenge that we all know for most graduates is that they are sitting at home with diplomas or degrees, and they are struggling to find jobs.
This is unfortunately not only caused by the youth unemployment rate that is currently sitting at 63% for the ages 15-24 years according to the recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS). It is also aggravated by the fact that a great deal of our graduates have completed courses and acquired skills that are not in great demand in the country.
Just to recap the stats I highlighted during #YouthMonth, a recent article revealed that the top 10 skills that SA businesses are struggling to recruit for include:
Engineers (18%); ICT (13%); Foreign Language Speakers (10%); Media and Marketing Specialists (9%); Artisans (8%); C-Suite Executives (7%); Senior Financial Executives (6%); Health Professionals and Related Clinical Sciences (5%); Science Professionals (4%) and Accounting (1%).
We’ve seen just how many students have struggled over the years with tertiary education fees – the #feesmustfall movement was a clear indication of the plight that our children are facing.
We also saw how many of the children from the so-called “middle class” homes did not qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding. As my way of alleviating pressure on NSFAS, I decided a few years back to opt for the Fundisa Fund – a savings scheme for further and higher education which was launched by the Department of Education and the Association of Collective Investments in 2007.
At the time, the government had committed R20 million to a three-year pilot project to test if there was demand for the savings scheme.
The Fundisa Fund basically encouraged lower income earners in the country to save for their children’s further education at either a public college or a university. Savers were able to open Fundisa Fund savings accounts and receive up to a quarter of what they save each year as a bonus.
A minimum monthly contribution of R40 was required and the bonus interest that could be earned was up to R600 per year for the education of a nominated child. To be able to see the return and benefit from this interest, the advisable investment term was five years.
Whoever decided to invest in this scheme needed to have an Mzansi or similar savings account and be a South African citizen.
This education fund has since 2018 unfortunately been closed to new investors and it is now only continuing to support existing investors who put their money before 2018. However, there are other savings policies from most of our banking and insurance companies that our people can look at, please check link attached for more info: https://www.justmoney.co.za/news/2020/02/05/best-ways-to-save-for-your-child-s-education/
I do agree with our government that education is a future that will bring new hope to many of our ordinary people’s lives. I’d like to plead with those that can, to start saving for our children from a young age and use the most reasonable and available ways of securing our children’s futures.
I strongly believe that education is the best inheritance that we can give to our kids and a ticket out of poverty for most of our youth.