The Wits Accounting Students’ Council (ASC) started a calculator drive through a lending out system to assist students who cannot afford financial calculators.
Financial calculators are a requirement for students who study accounting and the initiative aims to help students who cannot afford to purchase the calculators.
The ASC launched the drive on last week and offers the calculators to students on a one-day loan basis. The collection of the calculators is at the ASC’s offices located in the FNB building on campus.
A second year BAccSci student and ASC social development officer, Bongiwe Ntshangwe spoke to Wits Vuvuzela about the initiative and its intended impact. “We, the ASC, aim to grant all students within our faculty the opportunity to have access to all resources available to make their stay at the university the most beneficial,” she said.
The calculators were funded by the School of Accountancy. The ASC is still trying to get donations for more calculators from individuals in the corporate field. “Any help will be welcome with the hopes of building a project which will enable accounting students to never again fear that they are ill-equipped to pass their courses and become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Ntshangwe.
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to Sandile Zwane, a third year BCom Internal Auditing and Accounting student, about the drive. “I think that the initiative is great, especially during exam times because that’s probably when you’ll need it the most. I think that the time allocation may be a tad short considering accounting students have four subjects to study for,” he said.
A student who intends to borrow a calculator is required to sign a contract with ASC before they take the calculator. In the event a student does not return the calculator, the full amount of the calculator will be charged from their fees statement. In an extreme case, legal action will be taken.
“Our long-term goal is to provide all enrolled first years with financial calculators. This will help us in the long run as these students will be able to use these calculators throughout the duration of their degree,” said
TAKING THE ASC BATON: Incoming Accounting School Council chairperson (first-row, right side) is hoping to improve the well-being of accounting students by implementing a charity begins at home approach through the social development office. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
The outgoing Accounting School Council (ASC) welcomed the incoming ASC when members voted for their portfolios on Tuesday following recent elections.
Sewela Makgolane who was in the ASC last year as the Social Development officer came out top as the ASC chair when her position was uncontested during the voting session.
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, Makgolane said she was excited when her name was called up as the 2015 ASC chair although she knows that she has “big shoes to fill”.
“I’m nervous I’m not going to lie. Last year’s council did a fantastic job. Compared to the previous council in 2013, we were more known. People got to know more about ASC but a lot of work still needs to be done. First time I’m in such a position, I’m excited I’m looking at what I can do with it and how far I can get,” said Makgolane.
Wellbeing of accounting students at the top of the new council’s agenda
According to Makgolane, one of the biggest issues her team will prioritize the most is the “well-being of accounting students”.
Through the Social Development office, the council managed to reach out to students through their “charity begins at home approach”, however Makgolane said even though the council reached out to students, they didn’t reach their target.
“Last year we didn’t know about processes and how to go about things, but now that I got to see that last year I’m coming in this year with a greater mind knowing where to go when people need help.”
“A lot of students are struggling financially and socially and that’s what we’re hoping to fix. People are too quick to say Wits is hard and students are failing which is the truth but we need to look at why students are failing. It’s not always the syllabus, we don’t know what’s going on at home. For me that’s what I hope will happen. For us to say that we helped students and played a part in ensuring their academic success”, added Makgolane.
The incoming council is also hoping to build a better relationship with management and the students. According to Makgolane, compared to the Law School Council, the council has a long way to go in terms of being recognized by management and the students.
“We have about 8000 students in the school and not even half of them voted. We need to work on that, not just for us but for next year’s council so that people take us seriously,” said Makgolane.
Improving last year’s agenda
Outgoing ASC chair, Rodney Motjamela hopes that the incoming council “bridge the gap between issues we are facing that of finance, an office and being able to handle academic grievances.”, adding that “There’s immense room for improvement.”
“When I was in the council 2013 and 2014,the council was just a start up because during these two years we had to revive the council. This year what we wanted to do was to make sure that there is student governance in the school of accounting and that the ASC is recognized. We think we’ve done that.
So our vision was just to make sure that our presence is felt in the school and re-introduce student governance in the school of accounting,” said Motjamela.
According to Motjamela, the council still struggles to make some of their projects materialize due to insufficient funds and the council doesn’t have an office where students can easily access them.
With the establishment of the Accounting Student Club, the council hopes to raise funds through the club.