UJ acknowledges record number of 441 top achieving first-year students

“We celebrate in order to acknowledge and to say a job well done, a thanks and praise to those who came before us. It is a proud tradition of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) to be able to say that this transition that you have made, so successful, to say that this is worth a celebration. This afternoon, we have gathered to celebrate these young achievers joined by their parents and representatives. The University strives to create the best learning conditions for you to flourish beyond your expectation with the stewardship of our Deans, Vice-Deans and our academics that assist you through the journey that foresees most of your transitions through teenage hood. This journey that you take is a vital and important journey for yourselves, your family, your community and the rest of the world as embark on a road to success and great potential.”

This message from the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg inspired 441 first-year top achieving students at the University’s annual First-year Top Achievers Ceremony at on Thursday, 10 September 2015.

This year produced one of the highest number of first-year top achievers since the inception of UJ. The exceptional performance of the record number first-year students, having obtained an average of 75% or more in their June 2015 examinations, demonstrates the University’s commitment to support its first-time entering students from school-to-university transition and compliments the strategic direction of the institution.

The three top degree students obtained an average of 87% plus. Ms Aimee Barnes, who matriculated from Rand Park High School, obtained and overall average of 88.25%, and is studying towards a Sport Psychology degree. Mr Dean Jarvis received a more than admirable second place with an average of 87.75%. Mr Jarvis is studying a BA degree in Language Practice, and he matriculated from Bishop Bavin School (Gauteng). Mr Benjamin van Zyl, who matriculated from Hoërskool Bastion, is studying BCom Law and achieved an average of 87.17%.

Six top diploma students obtained an average of 87% plus. Mr Brendon Roets, who matriculated from Goudrif Hoërskool, obtained and overall average of 91.10%, and is studying Biomedical Technology. Mr Kulani Baloyi received the second place for the top achieving diploma student with an average of 87.71%. Mr Baloyi, who matriculated from Giyani High school, is studying towards his Mechanical Engineering qualification. International student, Ms Benedicte Amutshali, received an average of 87.40% and is studying towards a qualification in Financial Services Operations. Ms Amautshali is joined by fellow International student, Mr Yohah Kambeya and Prudens High matriculant, Mr Eddy Malematsha. They both obtained an average of 87.20% and are also studying towards a qualification in Financial Services Operations. Ms Palesa Maseko, received an average of 87%. She is pursuing a qualification in Accountancy and matriculated from Suiderlig Hoërskool.

Of the 441 top achievers, 247 were female and 194 men.

Says Mr Brendon Roets: “I did not aim to become a top achiever. I really did not expect it. Although I have worked hard, I need to commend UJ for all it support. The University has a lot of support programmes and excellent teaching staff.”

“I was hoping to be one of the top achievers since I was working very hard. I was supported by the UJ outstanding staff and built a close relationship with my tutors and lectures,” said Aimee Barnes.

Mr Kulani Baloyi echoed Roets’ sentiments adding that UJ contributed to his achievement in many ways. “My lecturers and tutors were all very helpful and always willing to answer any questions. It also helped a lot that most learning material was available in Blackboard, an online system which makes it easy to study from wherever I was. UJ also provides many free services to students, such as the writing centre, which is of great benefit when compiling an essay.”

The Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences produced 178 of these achievers, followed by the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment with 69 and the Faculty of Management with 60. Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Humanities boast with 43 and 33, top achievers, respectively. The Faculty of Science had 19 and the Faculty of Health Science, 18 top achievers. The Faculty of Law produced 15 and the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, 4 top achievers. Two of the top achieving students enrolled for combined degrees.

About University’s First Year Experience Programme (FYE) The University’s First Year Experience Programme (FYE), an initiative offering academic skills reinforcement with an accent on students mentoring fellow students is one of the support programmes that helps ease the school-to-university transition. Almost 1 300 student tutors, selected from third-year level, and up, do well academically, are good communicators, are able to identify with students’ needs and act as an interface between students and teaching staff. UJ also introduced academic advisors in university residences and approved off-campus accommodation facilities. Under UJ’s Academic Excellence Programme, 250 student advisors are serving 2 000 first-years in 25 residences.

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