Friday, February 16, 2007

Meraka Bursaries Applications Close 15 March 2007

YES... you can start your CAREER PATH with an entrance into the Honours programme in Eco-Informatics at the University of the Western Cape. If successful in the first year you can exit with an Honours or go onto a MSc in Geo-Informatics (a further 6 months coursework plus a 6 month mini-thesis).

R60 000 per annum bursaries are available!

That's right! Eight bursaries for study in 2007 and 2008 will be awarded through the Meraka Institute. Disbursement will be performance-based and highly competitive.

What do I need to have?

You need at least a BSc Degree with a minimum aggregate of 60% - this is the Faculty requirement for entrance into the Honours Degree Programme. If you have a four-year degree or higher degree it would be advantageous. Your academic qualification while important is not the only assessment criteria for these bursaries. You will also need:

  • Good reading, writing and numeracy skills;
  • To be creative, enquiring and critical;
  • Not to be scared of doing Statistics or Computer Scripting (HTML and CSS) - you do not need to be a computer programmer, but you need to be confident that you can develop web material;
  • To be strongly motivated to succeed, self reliant with good problem solving skills.

How do I apply?

This is the CREATIVE bit! You will need to build your own personal Blog using either the international Blog service provider or on the South African site Your Blog will be assessed for awarding a bursary based on content, creativity and consistency.

Once you have sufficient material on your site you can email your URL to MUmlaw[at] If you need some friendly advice you can email me, Rich at rknight[at] with your Blog URL and I will make some comments on your site to help you with your application.

What do I put up on my Blog?

Your Blog should broadly relate to Information Technology with a focus on the Natural or Built Environments or on Disaster Management/Mitigation. Also your Blog should tell us about yourself, your interests, your opinions and be expressive as well as creative. The Meraka Institute in association with the various partners will make the final decision on which applicants for the bursaries are successful. Bursary disbursement is dependent on your registration at UWC in the BCB NISL-EI honours programme, - but we will provide details when we notify you of the success of your application.

What will my responsibilities be?

You are expected to register at UWC and pay your academic tuition fees which for 2007 are R13 211. You will be expected to work longer than a normal 8am to 4pm day in order to get the good marks. Other terms and conditions will apply.

How will the programme be presented?

The programme is distance-based using a variety of e-learning resources. The assignments will be varied and challenging. Most of the instructions will be through the course Blog. In the first year there are 12 courses to be completed (each representing 100 notional hours). An Honours exit point exists at the end of the first year, but you should continue onto the MSc programme. In the second year there will be six courses plus a mini thesis. Interaction with other students is encouraged and we hope to involve students from other courses.

The programme is competitive, so you will need to make a big impact with your Blog and you will be in line to get one of these bursaries worth R60 000 per year for a maximum of two years.

The University reserves the right to cancel this programme if there are insufficient candidates suitable for admission.