New jacket for NWU intervention programme

Belinda Bantham -- Thu, 11/08/2018 - 08:36

New jacket for NWU intervention programme

What started out as an intervention programme to provide academic aid to Grade 12 learners struggling with accounting has grown into one of the North-West University’s (NWU’S) flagship community engagement projects.

And come 2019, this successful engagement project will don a new jacket and be known as the NWU Sedibeng Accounting Project.

The Sedibeng Education District is made up of two parts, namely Sedibeng East (D7) and Sedibeng West (D8). Together these parts include the following areas: Daleside, Heidelberg, Henley-On-Klip, Jameson Park, Meyerton, Rensburgdorp, Rotanda, Sharpeville, Vereeniging, Walkerville, Evaton, Loch Vaal, Vanderbijlpark, Sebokeng, Palm Springs, Bophelong, Boipatong and Evatorn.

The project will focus specifically on skills training for accounting educators responsible for Grade 10 to 12 learners. According to Beitske van der Niet, project coordinator, the district approached the School of Accounting Sciences earlier in the year with regard to assistance in terms of advancing the current skillset of its accounting educators. The latter will henceforth contribute towards the overall performance of the learners during the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.

To date 15 accounting educators have received training and as from next year, a total of 40 educators will take part in the workshops that take place on the campus in Vanderbijlpark on Saturdays.

The team from the School of Accounting Sciences are committed to the project and proudly champions it by freely giving their time and sharing their expertise with the educators. The team consists of: Prof Heleen Janse van Vuuren, Tessa de Jongh, Dr Thys Swanepoel, Alinka Mostert, Anina Marx, Esti Lubbe, Beitske van der Niet, Suretha van Wyk, Anneke Moolman, Lerike Jacobs, Olive Stumke, Monique du Plessis and Dr Andre Swart.

Beitske believes that learners will only be inspired to love accounting if they first understand the fundamentals of the subject. “Through this initiative we aim to empower educators to champion the subject and by doing so empower the next generation of accounting professionals,” she says. This will in turn contribute proactively towards addressing the dire need for qualified professional accountants and other financial experts in South Africa.

Where it all started

In 2013, several schools in the Fezile Dabi Education District (Northern Free State) had a 0% pass rate for accounting during the NSC examination. Clearly, this was a problem that had to be tackled urgently.

“One of the issues identified back then was the serious lack of sufficient training and skills development of educators, especially with regard to the accounting curriculum,” explains Beitske. In a concerted effort to assist the district, the NWU rolled out an intervention programme. The aim was to help educators to better understand the content of the accounting curriculum and to offer Saturday classes to Grade 12 learners who were grappling with the subject.

The intervention yielded good results. In 2014 the district came out top in the Free State (with a subject pass rate of 81%), and claimed the second spot in the national rankings.

The rest is, as they say, (accounting) history.

Beitske van der Niet (middle) and Esti Lubbe (right) with delegates from the Sedibeng Education District.