A young man tells the story of how he was on a Skype call with his parents, from his flat in New York, when they invited their domestic worker of years to sit in and chat with him. The first thing she said to him was that she wished her daughter could clean his flat in New York.
This shocked him, left him upset as this was post-apartheid South Africa; her children should be able to do anything they set their hearts on. He came back to South Africa but that brief interaction remained with him and Kinfundi was born. Kinfundi is a new pre-paid point-based system that will make education more easily accessible to all families earning an income of at least R2,000 per month.
The income gap in South Africa is large and is getting bigger. It is impossible to change this if we do not educate all South Africans, enabling them to reach their full potential.
According to Kinfundi, unemployment increases to 42% amongst people with no matric qualification; some 35% of 15 year olds currently enrolled in school drop out before even reaching matric. These teenagers’ overwhelming reason for dropping out is a lack of funds or the need to find a job to help support the family – four years after dropping out most of them will be unemployed.
If a family needs its children to work to survive how can we expect this same family to pay for education, the cost of which continues to increase at just about double our CPI? When children are going hungry, saving for a tertiary education tomorrow falls pretty low on the priority list.
As an employer, whether you employ 500, 20, or one individual you can make a difference by introducing the new employment benefit offered by Kinfundi to your employees.
How does it work? Kinfundi allows you as the employer to contribute to the fund on a monthly basis along with the contribution the employee is able to make (the minimum total monthly contribution is R150). Each rand contributed is then converted to an Edu-Time Point (ETP) which Kinfundi invests in vehicles offered by Allan Gray and Standard Bank where it earns additional ‘Growth ETPs’ through interest as the investment grows. A member’s bursary fund can also grow through ‘Donated ETPs’ and ‘Earned ETPs’ from funds donated by donors.
Once a member is ready to educate a family member at a good school or university the member simply contacts Kinfundi and it pays the fees to the relevant education facility. No money is ever paid out to the member and things such as uniforms or school trips are not covered. The chosen institution also has to be recognised by the Department of Education. If all children are educated and there are ETPs left over, members can transfer it to another member or use the ETPs to educate themselves. No money will be paid out in cash to any members from Kinfundi.
What do you, as the employer stand to benefit? The employer contributions are tax deductible and qualify as both Skills Development and Socio-economic Development spend on your company’s BEE score-card. But most of all you will help to facilitate transformation by increasing access to quality education. This makes South Africa better for all children, including your own.