At most institutions, Pure Maths is a requirement to study to become a CA. Find out how Boipelo Moncho took Maths Literacy and followed her dream to be accepted into an extended CA programme at NWU.
I was raised by a single mother who worked at the dry cleaners together with my sisters. Growing up, I never had the privileges that many people my age had, but I was always told that education would enable me to have all that I needed and beyond. I’ve always been a lover of books and reading has helped me reach for my dreams and aspirations.
My mother is 44 years older than me and as a result could hardly help me with my school work, nor could she help me when I had to choose my high school subjects. But despite her inability to help me with regard to my school work, she always encouraged me to do my best and read my textbooks. She often said that my educators wouldn’t ask me something they didn’t teach me so I should pay attention in class and find the answers in my textbooks.
I always knew that I wanted to be a Chartered Accountant. When I got to grade 9, I made the decision to do Mathematical Literacy despite the advice of my teachers that encouraged me to do Pure Maths. This decision was brought about by the fact that I went to an underperforming school. High school and varsity played a very crucial role in getting me to where I am today. The extra classes, the teachers and lecturers making themselves available to assist where there is a need, that is the kind of support that got me to where I am today. Even though I chose Mathematical Literacy, my mind was still set on achieving my goal of studying Chartered Accounting.
A lot of people discouraged me and told me that I would not make it because of my subject choice, but my determination always far outweighed any negative feedback I got. The support my family gave me made it seem possible and so I focused on passing Matric and getting an entry into university. In Matric I realised that the only way the world would take me seriously was if I, not only passed Mathematical Literacy, but also got a distinction in it. So I studied this subject harder than the others.
Quite a few of my peers had done Mathematical Literacy, but most of the people I knew, or at least those who I got to do my honours with took Pure Maths. They had either received a low level for Maths or did not have Accounting in school. However, over the years the extended programme has helped many people with Mathematical Literacy to study CA. Further proving that nothing can stand in the way if one is truly motivated to achieve one’s goals.
I achieved my goal and got a distinction, and to my utter shock I also received the Top Achiever Award for 2009 and my name was to be inscribed on the school’s wall. This achievement made me realise that I had what it takes to be the best and it put me one step closer to being a Chartered Accountant. The only thing left was to get accepted into a university.
I was accepted into the CA extended programme in North-West University in 2010, the first of its kind in the institution. This programme enables students, with Mathematical Literacy or a low Maths pass, to still pursue their dreams, and study a degree for which they never could have studied as a result of the subjects they chose. The extended degree starts you off with the basics, for me it was the basics for Accounting and Maths. I did Maths for three semesters, and the bulk was Financial Maths. I did not catch up on all the Pure Maths I missed in high school, however, I received all the exposure I needed for the Pure Maths that was required for my degree. I still do not understand Geometry, but I suppose it’s one of those things I really do not mind not knowing.
At times it was frustrating because I always thought I was too advanced in my knowledge of Accounting to be doing Foundation Accounting, but the end goal kept me motivated and kept my frustrations in check. I was grateful for this opportunity and I was determined to make great use of it. We could not afford tuition and I had no bursary, but my mother was able to raise enough money for me to register. For the first two years of my varsity life we struggled financially and, at times, I couldn’t even afford the taxi fare to come to campus. But it’s this very struggle that motivated me to do my best, because I couldn’t let my mother’s hard-earned money go to waste. I had gotten into university, and despite the challenges, both my mother and I have never looked back.
Hard work pays off
When I qualified for my CTA in 2013, I was humbled and in awe of how close I was to my dream and I realised that with hard work and determination, anything was possible. I was also finally going to prove that Mathematical Literacy is not a barrier and a bad, or not recommended decision can be made good with hard work. Every negative thing that I was told and all the doubts I had slowly dissolved. It didn’t even matter that I did Mathematical Literacy, because I was just as deserving of being in the CA program as a student who did Pure Maths in high school. With the very same determination I embarked on my CTA journey. I have since graduated with an extended Bcom and Honours in Chartered Accounting. As hard as the five years at university were, I succeeded with the support of my family, and am now able to fulfil my life-long dream of practicing as a Chartered Accountant.
I am currently doing my academic articles at North-West University, and this helps me help other people to get to where I am today. I can only hope that my impact in their lives is positive.
Everyone makes bad choices every now and again, the worst thing that one can do is to let the bad choices affect the rest of your life. No one is born successful, we all have to work hard and earn our successes and in turn earn peoples’ respect, and that only happens if we make the best of our choices, good or bad. If you’re struggling to decide which subjects to take for high school, don’t worry. Have a look at our article on ‘Grade 9 – How to choose the right high school subjects?‘ where we cover all the important aspects you need to remember.