June 16 1976, between 3 000 to 10 000 students mobilised by the South African Students Movement’s Action Committee took to the streets of Soweto protesting against the then presiding government’s directives. The main event that triggered this protest was the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953 where the language of Afrikaans was made the primary medium of instruction in schools, this language barrier on its own made it difficult for black scholars to receive and make use of quality education.
Despite the dissatisfaction of The Bantu Education Act, it made it possible for more children residing in Soweto to be in schools. However, the quality of Black Education in comparison to White Education was very inferior. The government spent an average of R644 per white student while spending an average of only R42 on each black student.
Furthermore, the University Education Act 45 of 1959 made it unlawful for black students to attend “white” universities, this racial segregation also meant a lower standard of education offered in the “black” universities. Quality higher education for a long time was not attainable to the majority of South Africans.
In the interim of all this racial segregation, the Accredited Certified Chattered Accountants (ACCA) launched its first branch outside the UK right here in South Africa. In 1920 a total of 2 800 students took their Exams with the ACCA. In 1996, ACCA launched a new syllabus, based on international accounting standards, this launch was at an ideal period for the South African populaces as the restrictive Bantu Education Act had just been diminished in 1994.
The ACCA has been striving to provide quality education that is attainable to people of all races, maximising opportunities for all its students. With regards to this, the ACCA offers to its South African students a BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting at the Oxford Brookes University, a first in the market and now the largest undergraduate accounting programme in the world.
The past barriers to quality university education for black students have been lifted, in contribution to quality university education, our ground-breaking partnership with the University of London makes us the first accountancy body to join forces with a university to enable students to gain a Master’s degree and a professional accountancy qualification at the same time, ensuring first grade education.
The ACCA has doubled the number of exam sessions ran, now students can choose from four exam sessions per year. From being the first accountancy body to admit women to membership in 1909 to doubling the number of exam sessions we run in 2016, ACCA is proud to be pioneers of quality education that sees no gender or race. Happy Youth Month!
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