Johannesburg, 14 October 2021: A recent report on global tertiary education revealed that only 6% of South Africans between the ages of 25 and 34 have a tertiary degree, compared to a 45% average across other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. A lack of funding is a key contributor to this – with an estimated 51% of youth aged 18-24 unable to pay for their tuition.
For many young South Africans, access to education – especially at a tertiary level – remains a massive challenge.
Born out of a commitment to create more value socially and economically, Standard Bank partnered with the Feenix Trust in June 2017 to address the tertiary debt crisis. To date, Feenix has raised over R80 million, impacting the lives of 2131 young South Africans. Of the total funds, more than R30 million has gone to students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees – a step in the right direction for a country that needs a digitally skilled workforce to advance into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Thanks to the Feenix community, thousands of students can study without having to worry about funding, empowering them to make their dreams a reality and equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to access employment opportunities.
The Feenix Trust is a public benefit organisation that connects indebted university students with funding communities using crowdfunding technology. Feenix believes that access to education should not be dependent on wealth. Currently, Standard Bank is the organisation’s main sponsor, providing financial support and guidance.
Standard Bank has also linked its UCount Rewards programme to Feenix, allowing its customers to use these rewards to fund a student. Through its transparency, the platform enables donors to see who their money is going to and what it’s being used for, encouraging more corporates and individuals to support education. And from a recruitment perspective, Feenix can serve as a database of potential interns and graduate hires for local businesses.
“We are incredibly proud to be able to facilitate the impactful work Feenix does. As we celebrate four years of pledging our support to our young people, I would like to thank every Standard Bank colleague who has supported students on the platform, thereby securing the future of our country,” commented Kabelo Makeke, Head of Consumer and High Networth at Standard Bank South Africa.
“We believe in inclusive, quality education for all South Africans and will continue to support initiatives and forge partnerships that drive this goal forward. Projects like Feenix form part of our vision for transformation through education. We urge the private sector to get involved and donate where possible to help as many students gain funding for their education, and ultimately, their futures,” concluded Makeke.