As part of its comprehensive approach to uplifting educational standards and creating opportunities throughout the country, Nedbank has been supporting the Department of Economics and the Chair of Financial Markets at the university to the tune of almost R5 million since 2008. The goal is to produce a high calibre of graduates with cutting edge financial knowledge that is critically needed in the financial services industry.
"Nedbank is a strategic partner in addressing the challenges of education in South Africa. We collaborate with stakeholders within the education space through numerous programmes, which are aimed at achieving a common outcome: building a strong and flourishing knowledge-based economy,' said Kone Gugushe, Nedbank?s Divisional Executive, Corporate Social Responsibility.
While the post-graduate programme is based in East London, some of the students completed their undergraduate studies at the university?s main campus in Alice. Significantly, the quality of students being produced as a result of the programme has improved markedly over the past three years with several students making it into the annual Nedbank Old Mutual Budget Speech Competition Top 20 list.
Graduates of the programme have also gone on to secure good positions in the private sector and at organisations such as the South African Reserve Bank, Coega, the East London Industrial Development Zone, and the East London Development Corporation.
"With education occupying such a core position in our corporate social investment strategy, it is very gratifying to see how great an impact this programme is having and what excellent results it is producing in terms of the quality of post graduates it is delivering to the economy,' added Gugushe.
"Education and community development are two of the most important focus areas of our corporate social investment drive and we are also thoroughly committed to the development of a knowledge-based economy through assisting worthy institutions such as the University of Fort Hare.'
As a direct result of the Financial Markets option that has been introduced at the University of Fort Hare, more students are registering for honours degree courses within the economics department. The Financial Markets specialty has also led to both Nedbank and the university being able "to fly their flags' at international conferences.
With around 44 fulltime students undertaking the post graduate programme annually, the pass rate is around 90% at the first attempt, high by any standards. To supervise higher degree research, up to six Masters and five PhD students annually focus on Financial Markets/ Monetary Economics.
Nedbank?s support of the Financial Markets programme also facilitates the production of independent and collaborative research papers - at least one per quarter - and liaison with the South African Institute of Financial Markets (SAIFM) to ensure alignment with its requirements. Students are also encouraged and assisted to write SAIFM exams.
In tandem with the important sponsorship role it is playing at this historically important tertiary institution, Nedbank has also played a critical role in enabling students at the University of Limpopo to study towards accountancy qualifications. The bank was last year instrumental in ensuring that the Chair of Accountancy at the university met the standards required by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) to receive accreditation towards offering a fully recognised accounting degree.