UKZN students who have committed to personal training and the development of their academic, professional and psychosocial skills to ensure their success at the University and beyond are in line for rewards.
The award scheme was created by UKZN’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science’s (CAES) Student Support Services (SSS) and the Centre for Academic Success in Science and Engineering (CASSE) in partnership with bookseller Van Schaik.
To achieve their shared vision of equipping students with the skills needed to succeed in Science and Engineering, the CAES, SSS and CASSE run a Life Skills programme as a critical part of CASSE’s Science and Engineering Access programme. This involves workshops on academic development including study skills and exam preparation, as well as psycho-social programmes that empower students with critical life skills such as stress management, self-esteem development, HIV education, and issues of gender-based violence (GBV). There are also workshops focused on career development.
The weekly workshops culminate in a Certificates Event where participating students who achieved 100% attendance at the year’s workshops are awarded certificates to affirm the training they have received and encourage them to complete the non-credit-bearing programme which does not involve any assessments.
Van Schaik Bookstores have provided a much-needed boost to these workshops by sponsoring the Certificates event and rewarding students who completed the training with a stationery pack.
The SSS is a vital resource for students across UKZN, providing services that include individual counselling and psychotherapy, academic risk assessments, psychological assessments, crisis management, skills development, academic monitoring and support, and telepsychology appointments.
CASSE enables students from socio-economically deprived backgrounds who attended schools lacking proper resources and infrastructure to gain access to Higher Education through programmes providing the necessary facilities to get on par with students who attended better-resourced schools. Facilities include laboratories and dedicated teachers for science subjects.
‘Student development is critical in advancing the academic programme, and many of the skills taught through these workshops empower our students academically and psychosocially,’ said workshop facilitator Mr Sanele Zuma, a counsellor with the CAES SSS who has been a part of CASSE since 2013.
‘We aim to empower students with life-long skills which will not only see them being competent graduates, but also empowered and responsible citizens. It is for that reason that we have a programme that is constantly reviewed to respond to the country’s challenges including GBV and high rates of unemployment,’ said Zuma.
‘It is imperative that universities produce graduates who are not only academically competent but developed all-round,’ he said.
Zuma highlighted the significance of having companies and organisations that support programmes to encourage students along their academic path and recognise those who make time for their personal development in the midst of busy timetables and demanding workloads.
The SSS and CASSE thanked Van Schaik and the CAES Public Relations Office for their support of the Certificate events and the development of students.
Words: Christine Cuénod