Lack of Actuarial Science students’ funding, a national crisis, but an opportunity to invest in actuarial education

The negative impact of Covid 19 on the South Africa’s economy is slowly easing up and the economy is gradually improving. According to Statistics South Africa, the country’s economy slightly expanded by 1,2% in the second quarter of 2021 (April–June 2021).

While this is a positive sign of economic recovery, several sectors are still facing difficult financial strain. SAADP funders in public and private sectors are no exception. StatsSA continues to warn that the third quarter GDP results that are due for release in December 2021 are likely to show negative economic impact resulting from the protest action and violence which took place in July 2021 in some parts of the county.

Due to the struggling economy, SAADP saw a sharp decline in donations in 2020. This brought several challenges in the development and support of actuarial students. Hundreds of academically talented learners from the class of 2020 found it hard to access SAADP support due to limited funds. Tens of academically talented actuarial students also found it difficult to access SAADP support in 2021. Observing such actuarial potential going to waste is a disgrace, but an avoidable one. Hundreds of good quality young people with great actuarial potentials are sitting at home due to lack of funding, resulting in an increased unemployment rate. The growing number of such youth who are not in education, employment or training is likely to result in an escalated crime rate – a negative spiral.

The problem of the acute shortage of actuarial skills that SAADP is addressing is not only a South African problem but a global one. The United States Bureau of Labour Statistics once predicted a 20% growth rate in the employment of actuaries between 2018 to 2028. This far exceeds the growth expectations for other professions.

We thank the constant donations from Sasria, FNB, ECIC, Deloitte, Liberty, Discovery, Hannover-Re, and QED. However, it is inadequate to fund the large number of first year Actuarial Science students that produce excellent academic results. The lack of funding for the first-year students is the primary challenge for the future of the actuarial profession. The inability for the matric class to access actuarial education will soon result in a lack of black actuarial professionals in South Africa (again). This is undeniably not what the actuarial fraternity and the country want.

The lack of Actuarial Science students’ funding will result in SAADP being unable to supply the actuarial skills that South Africa and the rest of the globe so badly need.

About SAADP

The South African Actuaries Development Programme is an independent, non-Profit Organisation (Registration Number 2004/000666/08) established in 2003 with the backing of Sasria SOC. Ltd. SAADP aims to creatively change the membership profile of the actuarial profession to increasingly reflect the demographic profile of the country. The latest statistics from the Actuarial Society of South Africa show that out of 1670 existing fellows, only 136 are Black South Africans, 30 are Coloureds, and 226 are Indians. The shortage of black and coloured actuaries may be attributed to several reasons, viz:

  • Legacy of apartheid education.
  • Inadequately qualified and lack of proper Mathematics and Science teaching in many South African schools.
  • Lack of awareness of the Actuarial Science profession among the black and coloured communities.
  • Lack of strong academic and emotional support structures in universities for black and coloured students.
  • The past poor schooling system which prevented a lot of black and coloured students’ entry into the profession.

SAADP’s reason for existence is to actively reverse this problem. We rely on the generous donations received from our donor partners to do the following:

  • Physically visit the schools nationally to conduct Actuarial Science Awareness Roadshows where Grade 8 to 12 are invited.
  • Convince interested and passionate Grade 12 learners to pursue a career in Actuarial Science.
  • Select students (through a stringent selection process) who are provided with our wraparound support at university. The support covers funding for their studies, academic support on gate-keeper-courses, and psychosocial support.
  • Use our relationship with employers to assist our graduates with employment opportunities in the actuarial space.

We have fully functional students’ support infrastructure established at the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria, and the University of Cape Town.

SAADP is governed by the Board of Directors which adheres to the guidelines established in the King Commission on Corporate Governance. The Board is assisted by the Audit and Human Resources Committee (AHRC) to discharge its duties relating to the safeguarding of assets, operation of adequate systems, control processes and the preparation of accurate financial reporting and statements in compliance with all applicable legal requirements.

Through the guidance of AHRC, SAADP has recorded a clean Audit for the past 18 years

Why and how to donate to SAADP?

Donations to support a South African child are greatly appreciated. As an NPO, SAADP provides its donors with Section 18A certificates for tax submissions to SARS and rebates. A range of options to donate may be set up including electronic fund transfer, debit orders, stop orders, and credit card payments.

There are two main cost items that donors may support:

  • Students’ costs:

Donors may choose to fund the whole or a part of students’ cost item:

Bursary Teaching aids Academic support Psychosocial support
Tuition fees Laptops, tablets, or iPads Tutorial costs Orientation costs
Residence fees Calculators Mentorship   Students’ development workshop costs
Textbook fees Mobile data  
Meals allowances      
Living allowances      
  • Actuarial Science awareness, recruitment, and selection costs:

Donors may choose to support the costs of travelling for staff to schools. SAADP visits schools in deep rural areas, townships, and urban areas to raise awareness and recruit learners. Those that show both keen interest and passion for Actuarial Science are convinced to follow this career. After a stringent selection process which includes the interviews; successful applicants receive all SAADP support until they reach the Honours level.

To donate, contact Ms. Nokwanda Mkhize, SAADP Executive Director at nokwanda@saadp.co.za    |   011 642 2202   |   083 641 4424

SAADP Banking Details:

Account type:            Platinum Business

Account number:     62568121356

Branch:                       Killarney

Branch code:             256205

In times of the global pandemic, South Africa (and the rest of the globe) will continue to be in desperate need for actuarial skills more than before. For all sectors to better understand and manage future impact of the pandemic, there is a need for actuaries who must produce actuarial models to forecast COVID-19 cases and other pandemics that may arise in future. The presence of the global pandemic therefore re-affirms the significance for employers of actuarial graduates to increase their investment in actuarial education.

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