Vice-chancellor, Professor Sizwe Mabizela commented on this stellar performance in his graduation welcome address on Wednesday 29th March: “I wish to call out for special recognition of the local Makhanda graduates, most especially those who have come through our University’s interventions to improve the quality of learning and teaching in our local public schools. Thanks to the sterling work of our Community Engagement Office, GADRA, Mrs Margie Keeton and Dr Ashley Westaway, significantly more young people of Makhanda are able to gain admission to Rhodes University than ever before.
This year, a total of 51 graduates who will be receiving their qualifications have come to Rhodes through GADRA and the Bridging Programme we established in 2017. Forty-Three of these students are receiving their bachelor’s degree and nine will be receiving a postgraduate qualification. A fabulous achievement indeed!”
GADRA prides itself on designing and implementing programmes which support both access to tertiary studies and which develop the academic skills and dispositions required for success at tertiary level. The ground-breaking Bridging Year programme referred to by Prof. Mabizela is offered in partnership with Rhodes University. It sees young people accepted for the programme register at Rhodes as Occasional Students for first-year courses and while simultaneously upgrading their NCS at GMS.
Another programme, developed and designed to create pathways to access and success at tertiary level is the award winning 9/10ths mentoring programme. This programme is run in partnership with Rhodes University Community Engagement. 2023 Graduate, Namhla Tukulu comments; “I was part of the mentoring programme when I was at GMS and because I had a mentor who was already at Rhodes while I was at GMS, I was familiar with the environment and with what would be expected of me when I started at Rhodes”.
The hard work and dedication graduating GMS alumni and their families have shown towards their studies is celebrated with a great sense of shared pride and joy.