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Rural Pathways to possibility

Many students in rural South African villages face numerous challenges when it comes to pursuing tertiary education. Limited access to resources, lack of support, and financial constraints can make it difficult for these students to achieve their dreams. However, the Pathways Programme is working tirelessly to change that by sharing its journey of placing students in institutions of higher learning.


“One of the main challenges rural students face is the lack of resources. Many students don't have access to the internet, libraries, or other resources that are necessary for academic success. This can make it difficult for them to research career options and find the right institutions to apply to. Another challenge is the lack of support and personalised guidance, which can leave students feeling lost and unsure about their options.” Azisiwe Somlenze, Senior Pathways Officer



The Pathways Programme addresses these challenges by providing clear pathways for students in rural areas. The programme distributes information sheets and consent forms to learners per school, providing them with information about tertiary education and the opportunities available to them. This helps students understand what tertiary education is about and what it can offer them. 


During career guidance sessions, the Pathways Programme provides one-on-one consultations, giving students personalised support and guidance. Students learn how to fill in the forms, research career options, and choose three options from their first choice to their third. They then compare their final grade 11 results to their career choices and go through a verification process to ensure that they are applying correctly. Axium’s Monitoring & Evaluation team have built an in-house tracker administered by Admin Clerks, which provides an additional layer of support by allowing the Pathways team to identify areas in which students are struggling and excelling.










Career Expo Day

The Pathways Programme has a structured approach to career guidance throughout the year.

  • In Term 1, both learners and parents are involved in decision-making, prospectus reviews, APS scores, teaching, and career research.

  • In Term 2, the focus is on career expos, understanding the selection process, including the myriad of terms such as “provisionally accepted” and “program full”.

  • In Term 3, students start thinking about clothes, toiletries, university experience, and support even after leaving Grade 12, and meetings are held with parents/guardians.

  • In Term 4, the Pathways team provides updates on applications, emotional support, and preparations for departure, including building relationships and what to expect when away from home.

As the beginning of the year rolls around again and matric results are released, the Pathways teams are caught up in a flurry of excited learners and parents, as feedback is received from colleges and universities, bus tickets are bought and goodbyes are said.


Financial constraints are also a major challenge for rural students. Many families in rural areas struggle to make ends meet, and the cost of tertiary education can be prohibitive. However, despite these challenges, families often see the many positives to pursuing tertiary education and find ways to support their children - sometimes even by selling the family’s livestock. On occasion, Axium provides small amounts of bridging finance to ensure plans are not derailed by relatively small initial hurdles before National Student Financial Aid kicks in.


Senior Schools Class of 2023: Top 10


By pursuing higher education, students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to build successful careers and improve their lives - as well as the lives of their families and communities back home. They also have the opportunity to explore new environments and broaden their perspectives, which can be life-changing. Axium’s Pathways team helps open these doors for hundreds of rural students each year.



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