Thinking About Part-Time Studies

“ ʼn Sielkundige juffrou” was my reply to my Gr.8 teacher when she asked us what we wanted to be when we grow up.

Many years later, I started studying part-time towards a BA with specialisation in Psychological Counselling.

To say that it was difficult would be an understatement! My family situation was not conducive to part-time studies. I was nineteen years old, working as a full-time cashier at a local Supermarket and financially contributing to our household. I had no one standing in my corner, motivating or encouraging me with my studies and no financial support.

I struggled with the four modules I registered for and the “tele-support” from UNISA, at the time, was pathetic! After a year of part-time studies I decided to let it go and start focussing on securing better employment.  Earning in the range of R350/week just wasn’t enough.

More than a decade later, I find myself scouring the internet for part-time studies. I have this hunger to further my education. I told my son that I want to go back to school! “No mommy, you can’t go back to school, you an adult, you have to work!”  Yes, this mommy needs to work and for a long time this mommy has been putting her own dreams aside…now she finds herself thinking about furthering her studies everyday!

So, I’ve been looking at various institutions. A few weeks ago my mind started working overtime when I saw that the South African College for Applied Psychology offers a part time Bachelor of Applied Social Science Degree over a period of five years! The course structure, perfectly complements my current job and volunteer work. The perfect fit!

I was however quickly brought back down to earth. My dream shattered, when I received the costing/annum yesterday.

Application fee: R500
Registration fee: R2 696
Deposit: R5 560
Monthly Payment: R2 866

This excludes the text books and annual increase! Flip, where in heaven’s name do I, a single parent, have R3 000 just lying around to spend every month on furthering my own education when I can barely afford the R400 (which is way too little!) that I save every month towards my son’s education?

Then, to top it off, our local newspaper, The Echo, pg. 12 published an article, “Student makes more demands on MasiCorp” the very same day I receive the costing for part-time studies. In short, this 29 year old was awarded a bursary for tertiary studies. He did not adhere to the conditions of the bursary;  he had a poor attendance record and he failed 3 subjects in his first year. A mediator was then called in and the Trust reconsidered and gave him R30 000 to continue his studies. He also received a laptop. He recently graduated and is now threatening to sue MasiCorp, because they refuse to give him further financial assistance. He INSIST that they pay for his diploma and the costs of hiring a gown for the graduation ceremony!

Here I am, a hard working and responsible adult, yearning to further my studies while this young man EXPLOITS the opportunity that he is given! What the hell???

So I am feeling sad and disappointed. Wondering how I can realise this dream without incurring debt or jeopardising my son’s future.

Why is education so expensive?!