Wits University is the most successful South African university in producing actuarial graduates from previously disadvantage backgrounds. According to the latest figures, South African Actuaries Development Programme (SAADP) bursary holders at Wits outperformed their peers at other universities.

Since the inception of the SAADP initially at the Universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand, and then later Pretoria, Wits has produced both the most graduates in actuarial science as well as the most fully qualified fellow actuaries from the programme, said Stephen Jurisich, Adjunct Professor in the School of Statistics and Actuarial Science at Wits. “Over the last ten years the proportion of bursary holders successfully graduating from Wits has been almost twice that of the next best performing university, and in addition two-thirds of the qualified SAADP fellows have come from Wits,” he said.

The South African Actuaries Development Programme is an independent, non-profit company that was established with the backing of SASRIA LTD. The programme seeks to actively address the problem of the acute shortage of actuarial skills in the black community in South Africa. The mission of this programme is to inspire young black students to take up Actuarial Science as a profession by availing resources that are required to achieve that objective.

To increase the pool of black actuaries, students are carefully selected to the bursary programme and receive comprehensive bursaries and support for their studies over a four year period. The entire process, from selection through to graduation, is carefully structured so as to serve the objectives of the programme.

The programme is open to Actuarial Science students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, who have achieved good results in their first or second year of their studies. The programme is available to students who are currently studying at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria.

The programme has officially been in existence since 2003 when it started off with a mere 19 students. What prompted its evolvement from idea to commencement was the need as identified by then Chairman of the SAADP Board, Cyril Ramaphosa, for black actuarial skills in the South African economy.

This is the driving force behind the programme. As a consequence of dedication to the vision to improve these skills, today there are more than 125 students across the campuses of Wits, UCT and UP receiving support and encouragement in the pursuit of becoming qualified actuaries.

Article issued by WITS university