Cinani’s vision was accomplished using an instant messaging application for smartphones, called WhatsApp.
Cinani who is currently in his second year of studying towards a BCom in Accounting realised that in order to combat Eastern Cape’s low matric pass rate, he would provide career advice and motivation through a WhatsApp group called #Wearegoingtovarsity.
This group includes university students and Grade 12 learners from rural areas within the Eastern Cape and is currently having 30 members.
“Most of the learners came from high schools with few resources,” says Cinani. “Some learners were scared to speak up, because of limiting perceptions about their background. We aim to bring out the best in every learner. They need self-belief to succeed in life.”
What inspired Cinani’s #Wearegoingtovarsity initiative?
Cinani remembers all too well the gut wrenching anxiety of worrying whether his matric results would meet university entrance requirements.
His life changed when he was selected to attend a South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Thuthuka Development Camp in the Eastern Cape.
Every year, hundreds of top matriculants are invited to attend these camps, which are held in the June – July holidays.
Not only did attending the camp show Cinani that he needed to achieve much higher marks if he wanted to achieve his goals, but the motivation and encouragement he received here elevated his motivation.
By the end of the year, Cinani had worked so hard that he matriculated, with a distinction in accounting and as his school’s top accounting student.
This passion for helping others is something we instil in all the learners who attend the SAICA Thuthuka Development Camps, explains SAICA project director for transformation, Lwando Bantom.
Through them, we are fulfilling a triple purpose: helping talented and disadvantaged African and Coloured learners throughout South Africa to achieve their goals, adding to the country’s skills base, and creating responsible future leaders.
Looking back, Cinani realises with pride that the SAICA Thuthuka Development Camp has changed young people’s lives.
The purpose of the camp is to improve top performers’ Mathematics, Accounting, English and Science knowledge.
They are also taught life lessons which including responsible leadership and teamwork skills.
It was the camp that had sparked his idea of creating the #Wearegoingtovarsity WhatsApp group.
“Lack of knowledge can stifle career choices,” says Cinani. “Many learners choose options based on their current marks. Some learners live in remote villages where career information is not always readily available. So they set their sights too low in terms of their career choices.”
He sympathises with the challenges that many Eastern Cape learners face which contributes to the low matric pass rates in the country.
These challenges includes limited school infrastructure (The Eastern Cape Department of Education is still dealing with infrastructure backlogs and is still to complete a project meant to eradicate mud schools that are still dotted around the province), incompetent/apathetic teachers and career guidance which is either lacking or completely absent.
Also the percentage of schools, which received a 100% pass rate decreased from 4.8 in 2013 to 4.1 in 2014.
The Eastern Cape province has recorded the worst Matric pass rate for the past five years with only 59.3% of Eastern Cape matriculants passing the the 2016 final examinations.
So individuals like Cinani with helpful initiatives like the WhatsApp group – #Wearegoingtovarsity, are much needed and much appreciated.
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– Jane Folodi