We are busy with a RPL pilot project.  There is no stipend attached to the project because one of the criteria is that learners must be employed. They do not have to pay for the course and get all the learning material for free.

The learners were very excited when they were informed that they were selected.  At orientation they were informed that there will be no stipend but only a transport allowance of R200.  It is now interesting that 8 of these learners are no longer interested or have other commitments. However, they then all requested to put their name on the waiting list for the next learnership intake (stipend is attached to learnerships).  Only one person was honest to say that she did not know that there was a stipend attached and therefore she will rather wait for ‘something’ where she will receive a stipend.

I have been working so long in the ECD field but it is still disappointing and shocking how the learners demand more and more.  For some of them the stipend is the motivation. Fortunately it is a very small percentage of the learners. 

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  • Wilma de Villiers Post author

    Eddie, I agree with you – for this specific project one of the criteria is that they need to be employed.  They are also living not very far from the College.  I fully agree with a stipend for students that need to travel far – without transport money they will not be able to attend training, even if the training is free.

    Wessel – very interesting about the gypsy’s.

  • Wessel PIETERS


    Although many would agree with you, fact is that if you read many opinions expressed, some demand entitlement as a right, while other will strive for Functional excellence as the basis for cultural and technological development.  This is the transformation dilemma.  It is practiced the wrong way round.

    For instance, the gypsy’s in Russia DEMANDS cash from your wallet on the street and in public, AS A RIGHT. This is a cultural characteristic. 

    This is about in line with JZ “getting” Inkandla “without asking for it”, and therefore “no obligation to pay; his words in parliament.  This is an entitlement characteristic.  Problem is however, it does not solve one problem; in fact it creates poverty.

  • Melony Du Toit

    Iam of the belief that the poor does not need charity, because charity begets charity thus causing the entitlement attitude. What the poor need is motivation, that is “self-motivation”. If they don’t want to do it for themselves, to uplift themselves then we have lost the battle and the war.

  • MillieRasekoala

    I have been placing learners for a long time and know that it is not just the stipend that is compelling to them. However it is a motivating factor and I believe it should be the case. A stipend of R1,500 per month is often used to support a family as well as for the learner to get to work. When people working as domestics get paid even more than this per month we should not talk about entitlement mentality. After all even students in tertiary get money for their fees as well as living allowance. Without this there will be less students enrolling. Whatever the motivation once the learner is in the environment they learn something significant and some even perform so well they end up being absorbed by the employer after the learnership. I am also confused about RPL and stipends. RPL is for employed personnel and usually with the buy-in of their managers they do not have to worry about anything.

    Please let us not get confused with those who are privileged learnerships etc are often for those who are already disadvantaged and the need for a small allowance for them to also feel good about themselves whilst they are studying and working really hard in the company should not should not be seen as an entitlement mentality. If the allowance was not important how many interns would take up internships and even look at the companies that offer the best benefits?

    We are currently project managing a learnership in the Northwest and some learners are coming from 100km away and going back home each day thus spending about R100 a day. Their allowance is R1500 per month but they still attend, some have children and they pay for childcare with their allowance.

  • Anitha Gunpath

    Changing times call for change in attitude, hence the sense of entitlement. I know of companies that pay their learners an extra amount plus the stipend , yet the learners are unhappy

  • MillieRasekoala

    I have been involved in the placement of learners for quite a number of years and I have to disagree that learners only take on learrnership placements because of stipends. Yes the stipend is a motivating fact

  • Nokuphiwa Sikhakhane

    It always disappoints me that learners and interns always ask for more than they are offered. I for one am a true believer in obtaining experience over monetary rewards (stipend). Having spent over two years unemployed due to lack of experience, I always strongly advice unemployed acquaintances to not look at how much they will but to shift their focus on the long term goal which is gaining experience and advancing their skills.

  • Eddie Cloete

    As far I’m concern, stipends only apply to people who are not working and got a learnership.People who are employed does not need a stipend or travel allowance as they do have a sustantive position in a company including benefits. My suggestion is that we stop trying to fix everything with money and give people some things that will benefit his future. The means to develop should be stonger than the need for money. What if the learners are rewarded after they complete the training.

  • Catherine Martin

    South Africans need to get out of the entitlement mentality.  At the risk of being politically incorrect, I am putting it out there that we South Africans cannot stomach the fact that African and Asian nationals come into the country and just get on with making a living.  Skills Development should be about boosting language and numeracy skills, building hard skills, and showing learners that they are as capable of succeeding as anyone who has ever succeeding – given the right attitude.  I say cancel all stipends and use the money to provide learner transport, lunch, and student accommodation if they live too far from the place of learning.  We may get fewer learners, but we’ll also waste less money.

  • Frank Smit

    Hi, there are very good reasons for stipends or allowances where there is no other way that learners would be able to do it. I spoke to someone at SAOGA recently and they have an excellent program for 200 artisan students who each get a monthly stipend. Bursaries at University also often contain elements of this. But if the stipend is now becoming one of the main reasons for enrolling or it is a condition of enrolling where the student in fact does not even need it (ie is already employed) then this is nothing more than the typical “I am owed/entitled” attitude we find so often in SA these days.

  • Nkhensani Ndhlovu

    It’s a sad part indeed. … but I was also questioning why stipend when employed. Even other government department will put the stipend before the benefits of learning-including companies that are recruting learners for skills interventions. I do support the intent of stipends but now it’s becoming about money than self development. It becomes refreshing when u meet learners that are so determibed for skills acquisition that they will get involved and perfirm at their peak even when there is no monetary benefit. We need to drive skills development first and stipend seen as a means to assist…..not the only reason to “tag along”.

  • Frank Smit

    Hi, maybe I am missing something here – these students are already employed? So why to they need a stipend in the first place, other than maybe for transport? How will South Africa compete internationally if the mentality is one of continual handouts at all levels, and lack of interest in self-improvement?