Provide Two Reasons Why Learners May Struggle to Apply for Bursaries

  • joub
  • Feb 26, 2024

Provide Two Reasons Why Learners May Struggle to Apply for Bursaries

Exploring the Reasons Behind Learners’ Difficulties in Applying for Bursaries in South Africa

Education remains a cornerstone of societal progress, empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of the modern world. However, for many learners in South Africa, financial constraints pose a significant barrier to accessing quality education. Bursaries, financial assistance provided to deserving students, offer a lifeline to those who would otherwise be denied the opportunity to pursue their academic aspirations. Despite the availability of these vital resources, many learners face challenges in applying for bursaries, hindering their ability to unlock their full potential. This essay delves into two primary reasons why learners in South Africa may struggle to apply for bursaries.

Reason 1: Lack of Awareness and Accessibility to Information

Information Disparities:

The digital divide, a stark reality in South Africa, exacerbates the accessibility gap to information regarding bursaries. Many learners, particularly those from marginalized communities, lack access to the internet, computers, or smartphones, limiting their ability to explore bursary opportunities online. This digital divide perpetuates a cycle of inequality, where those with access to technology enjoy greater opportunities for educational advancement.

Inadequate Career Guidance:

In many schools, particularly those in underprivileged areas, career guidance services are either lacking or insufficient. This deficiency leaves learners unaware of the various bursary options available, the application processes, and the eligibility criteria. Without proper guidance, learners may miss out on valuable opportunities to secure financial assistance for their studies.

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Geographical Barriers:

Learners residing in remote or rural areas often face geographical barriers that make it challenging to access information about bursaries. The lack of adequate transportation and limited access to libraries or community centers further compounds their difficulties. These challenges hinder their ability to gather the necessary information to apply for bursaries effectively.

Reason 2: Complex Application Processes and Stringent Eligibility Requirements:

Overwhelming Application Procedures:

Bursary applications often involve a series of complex steps and requirements, including the submission of multiple documents, personal statements, academic transcripts, and letters of recommendation. The sheer volume of paperwork and the stringent deadlines associated with these applications can be daunting for learners, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds who may lack the necessary support and resources to navigate the process successfully.

Stringent Eligibility Criteria:

Bursaries often come with a multitude of eligibility criteria, including academic performance, financial need, and specific subject requirements. Learners from low-income households may meet the financial criteria but struggle to meet the academic requirements due to inadequate resources and support. Additionally, bursaries may be limited to certain fields of study, further restricting learners’ choices for higher education.

Limited Appeals Process:

In cases where learners are unsuccessful in their bursary applications, the appeals process is often limited or non-existent. This lack of an effective appeals mechanism further compounds the challenges faced by learners, leaving them with few options to rectify any errors or omissions in their applications.


The challenges faced by learners in applying for bursaries in South Africa are multifaceted and deeply rooted in socio-economic disparities. The lack of awareness and accessibility to information, coupled with complex application processes and stringent eligibility criteria, creates a formidable barrier for many deserving learners. To address these challenges, a concerted effort is required from various stakeholders, including government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and private sector companies. Expanding access to information, providing comprehensive career guidance, simplifying application procedures, and broadening eligibility criteria can help create a more equitable bursary landscape. By breaking down these barriers, we can unlock the potential of all learners, regardless of their financial circumstances, and pave the way for a brighter future for South Africa.