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​UJ raises the bar to assist Missing Middle students


Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UJ, Professor Ihron Rensburg, together with the University’s Student Representative Council (SRC) and the UJ management team, is continuing the University’s ambitious fundraising efforts to help the ‘Missing Middle’ students at the University.

Speaking at a UJ gala dinner hosted at the Johannesburg Country Club on Thursday, 2 February 2017, Prof Rensburg set a goal of raising R120 million for 2017 – doubling the ambitious 2016 target of R60 million that was exceeded by close to R50m last year.

UJ has focused on assisting underprivileged but academically deserving students, the so-called ‘Missing Middle’. The University has made a difference to 3 878 students and their families by helping them pay their student tuition and registration fees in 2016.

“These numbers represent people, families, and communities. When we look in the mirror, we see our neighbour and the real difference we make in people’s lives. When UJ was formed over a decade ago, it was not just a merger that projects a bureaucratic and administrative narrative; the UJ merger gave us the opportunity to rebuild the university sector in post-apartheid South Africa. What defines UJ is the idea of continued access to academic transformation,” said Prof Rensburg.

“It does not take 100 years to be ranked highly in research compared to our peer institutions; to move from 60 black academics to over 400; or to move our students from quintile 1 and 2 schools to becoming successful professionals. We embrace our constitution and the challenge to build a new society. We answer the questions that we didn’t answer in the past. UJ will introduce a new module that takes on the idea of decolonised education that all undergraduate students will undergo to complete their qualifications. These are just some of the small steps in the right direction. I thank each and every one of you who has made contributions to the Missing Middle Fund, you have made the real difference,” added Prof Rensburg, asking for contributions to the 2017 fundraising initiative.

Also speaking at the Missing Middle Fund thank-you event were the CEO of FirstRand Bank Limited, Mr Johan Burger, who urged the youth to “remain resilient in their pursuit of knowledge and building skills for the future”; the UJ SRC President, Mr Hassan Abdullah and the CEO of Transport Education Training Authority (TETA), Ms Maphefo Anno-Frempong.

“If an international student like me could become the UJ SRC President and receive from the University, I am sure that UJ and South Africa can do the same for the youth in this country,” said Abdullah.

Of the 2017 fundraising target of R120 million, R10.3 million has already been pledged for the UJ Missing Middle Fund in the first two months of the year.

Also present at the event was the UJ Executive Leadership Group (ELG) and Chairperson of UJ Council, Professor Roy Marcus.