Eleven University of KwaZulu-Natal postgraduate students were recently awarded TATA scholarships during a ceremony held at Westville campus’ Senate Chamber.

The scholarships are awarded by TATA Africa to top performing postgraduate students from disadvantaged communities to assist them with funding their studies.

In his official welcome address, UKZN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld thanked TATA for their continued support as this lessens the load of students having to worry about funding their studies.

He commended the company for focusing on postgraduate students as there is not enough funding allocated to postgraduate students, as most of the NSFAS and state support dries up after the first degree leaving postgraduate students vulnerable.

Van Jaarsveld said: ‘Because of the pressure on funding for NSFAS support for undergraduates, a lot of the funding support from places that universities relied on like the National Research Foundation has gone towards NSFAS.’

TATA’s Executive Director and Head: Distribution Vertical, Mr Len Brand said the two-thirds of the company’s turnover sits in a trust and that goes towards community upliftment.  He said the bursary programme enables TATA to touch the communities.

Brand encouraged the students to go back and uplift their communities. He said: ‘Our motto is to invest in the best to enable the best to uplift the rest.’

Scholarship recipient, Ms Zanele Ndimande thanked TATA for the opportunity they provided for her to continue with her studies. ‘I am grateful as this has made a difference in my life.’

Words: Sithembile Shabangu