Help save St Augustine: August 2017
St Augustine is a provider of quality, values-based education within Catholic Intellectual Tradition. We offers a range of qualifications: three Bachelor degrees (in Arts, Commerce and Theology); postgraduate degrees at the Honours, Masters and Doctoral levels (in a range of subjects, including Theology, Philosophy, Applied Ethics [Business Ethics or Political and Social Ethics], Culture and Education, and Peace Studies); a Higher Certificate in Biblical Studies, and numerous short courses.
Since our foundation in 1999, much has been achieved:
- St Augustine has produced 243 postgraduate – 17 doctorates, and 90 students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
- St Augustine is recognised as a National Research Foundation Institution (NRF), and, despite its size, has regularly ranked in the top third of all South African universities in terms of research output – performing better than many public tertiary academic institutions.
- A member of the International Federation of Catholic Universities, St Augustine is the only African Catholic ‘university’ invited, in 2017, to join a project that, through the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, will be providing support to Papal diplomacy on important global issues.
- Through our short course offerings, and public lecture programme, St Augustine provides an important venue for: Christian and interfaith dialogue, debate about standards of ethical behaviour, and professional career growth (particularly for teachers).
Because of our class sizes, favourable staff / student ratios and high-impact teaching, St Augustine’s through-put rate is significantly higher than that achieved at state institutions in South Africa.
Further, St Augustine is continuing with efforts to introduce new qualifications:
- A Higher Certificate in Theology (HCT) is currently being developed in consultation with the South African Deacon Council; it is envisaged that this qualification (together with the Higher Certificate in Biblical Studies that St Augustine already offers) will become an important component for Deacon training not just in South Africa but across the African continent.
- Our Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education (PGCSE) is in an advanced stage of development. Once finally approved by the South African Council on Higher Education, this qualification – which has been developed in consultation with a number of Catholic Schools – will significantly contribute to the formation of future Catholic teachers.
- We are also exploring offering some of our qualifications on-line.
Despite having gone through a trough during a financial crisis in 2013/2014, our student numbers are, once again, improving. From a 2015 base of 40 students registered for our Higher Certificate in Biblical Studies (HCBS), no undergraduates, and 53 postgraduates, in 2017, we now have 69, 67 and 105 respectively. In 2018 we are projecting 95 HCBS students, 120 undergraduates, and 120 postgraduates. We are confident that these numbers will continue to increase post 2018: our ambition is to reach a financial ‘breakeven’ number of 120 HCBS students, 180 fee paying undergraduates, and 130 postgraduates. (Our carrying capacity in our current premises is 600 full-time and 600 part-time students.)
At this critical juncture in the growth and development of South Africa, the challenge is to imbue in young South Africans an unequivocal respect for the dignity of the human person and a determination to build a more just and equitable society that will benefit all. St Augustine has embraced that challenge; our mission is to produce graduates who have learnt ‘to think rigorously, so as to act rightly and to serve humanity better’.
Unfortunately, St Augustine’s financial base is vulnerable. Receiving no assistance from the South African state, St Augustine’s relies exclusively on the generosity of donors and fees collected from registered students. Both streams, however, are unreliable: donations are both erratic and limited; while, many of those who apply to study at St Augustine are unable personally to finance their own studies.
We are thus urgently appealing for your support, no matter how small!
Between now and the year end, our expenses are R 5 million; we anticipate R 600 000 in outstanding student fees, and R 400 000 in promised donations. We thus need to raise R 4 million!
We are appealing for donations of between ZAR 250 / £ 15 / € 16 / US$ 19 and ZAR 25 000 / £ 1 500 / € 1 600 / US$ 1 900.
Our bank details are as follows:
Name of Bank: Standard Bank of South Africa
Account Holder’s Name:
St Augustine College of South Africa
258 Beyers Naudé Drive
Account Number: 022517928
Branch Code: 006305
BIC / SWIFT: SBZAZAJJ
(We are registered with CAF America.)
PLEASE FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO ANYONE THAT MIGHT BE PREPARED TO ASSIST
‘Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ (St Francis)