Social grant learners defy the odds

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thousands of child support grant beneficiaries will get a chance to break away from the cycle of poverty, when they enter institutions of higher learning, thanks to government’s social protection interventions and their good matric performance.

Out of 534 484 learners who sat for 2017 Matric examination, 417 239 were social grant beneficiaries, representing 78% of all matriculants, who wrote the exams. Of the 401 435 learners who passed, 234 707 received social grants, making it 59% of learners who passed Grade 12.

A total of 66 597 social grant beneficiaries who passed the 2017 Matric exams obtained bachelors pass, which gains them entry into tertiary education. In addition, 44% of the social grant beneficiaries can gain entry into colleges and universities of technology.

On Thursday, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini acknowledged the academic performance of top social grant beneficiaries who wrote their matric 2017, during an event held at the SABC in Johannesburg.

The learners received social grants including Child Support Grant, Care Dependency Grant, and Foster Child Grant.

Some of the learners who received services at a household level included children from Child Headed Households, as well as poor and vulnerable learners on the Isibindi Programme, which provides care, protection and developmental support to vulnerable children and families.

Handing over the certificate to the learners, Minister Dlamini emphasised that all children are equal and must be given equal opportunities, regardless of their backgrounds.

Minister Dlamini said that providing social grants for children is an investment for the country.

“Social grants have an impact in the lives of our children. At Child Headed Households, there’s discipline and focus,” Minister Dlamini said.

The Minister also challenged the learners to broaden their horizon and think out of the box so that they are able to come with programmes to address their needs.

“You are an asset for yourself, your family and government,” the Minister told learners.

She also announced that over 14 000 child support grant learners have been granted bursaries to further their studies at the universities and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

Grants an escape from poverty

Speaking to SAnews, Mandisa Xaba, 18, from Zakheni in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal, thanked the Department of Social Development for its interventions, saying if it wasn’t for government, she would not have achieved this.

“It [social grant] helped me and my family to escape poverty, I’m going to work hard and change the situation at home,” Xaba said.  

Xaba, who was studying at Sakhelwe High School, obtained seven distinctions and was among the national top 10 learners in 2017. She is going to study BSc in Computer Sciences, Physics and Maths.

She challenged 2018 Grade 12 learners to start studying now and ask questions when they don’t understand something, as well as study past matric exam papers.

Sibongiseni Maseko, 20, who matriculated at Adelaide Tambo School for Learners with Special Needs, thanked the people from Isibindi Programme for motivating him and reminding him about the importance of education.

“Despite my disability, my mind is active like everybody’s. Even though there were challenges I made it through, and I’m proud of myself and government for coming through for me,” Maseko told SAnews. –

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