One would think that most matrics spend their winter holidays relaxing, having fun and forgetting about school, but for 3 000 learners who have shown a particular aptitude for mathematics will do something completely different this year. They will spend their time exercising their brains at development camps held by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) around the country. These annual camps are just another way SAICA is working to address the quality of South Africa’s education system.

SAICA sees itself as a key stakeholder of the country – one with a vested interest in improving the quality of education, especially in mathematics. It has turned this strategic priority into action. For the past 15 years, SAICA has been offering academically talented, yet financially disadvantaged, Gr 12 learners additional academic support over the winter school holidays through its provincially-run SAICA Development Camps.

Each camp lasts five to seven days and provides learners with extra lessons to improve their mathematics, science, accounting and English aptitude. Learners are also offered life skills training and career information to help them make wise and appropriate career choices.

Senior Executive: Transformation & Growth, Gugu Makhanya explains why SAICA has undertaken this task: ‘When it comes to scarce-skill professions like medicine, engineering, actuarial science and chartered accountancy, the pool of learners who are academically talented enough to apply is a small one. The percentage of those learners who are black or coloured is even smaller. It is therefore essential that SAICA does what it can to assist and to grow the pipeline of the disadvantaged learners who wish to study towards a career in chartered accountancy.’

Makhanya continues: ‘Collaborating with key partners in the provincial departments of education, members of the accounting profession, representatives from universities and institutions such as the Financial Services Board, as well as various other professions, SAICA’s aim is to help improve learner proficiency in subjects like mathematics and science in order, ultimately, to improve the quality of passes that high school learners achieve in these subjects. We also find that, due to the mock exams learners participate in at the camps, they are better prepared for their final matric exams later in the year.’

Camp attendees shine in matric exams

This, Makhanya says, is evident when you analyse the matric results of past camp attendees.

SAICA’s records reveal that camp attendees are often at the top of the matric results list at the end of the year.

For example, in 2016, Mpumalanga Development Camp attendee Busisiwe Sibiya, achieved six distinctions in her final matric exams. Sbongiseni Zondi, who attended the KwaZulu-Natal Development Camp, scored three distinctions and achieved full marks for accounting.

‘We expect similar results from the leaners who will be attending this year’s camps,’ adds Makhanya excitedly.

More than 3 000 learners are expected to participate in the 2017 SAICA Development Camps which run between 30 June and 22 July for most provinces and between 1 and 7 October for the Northern Cape and additional Gauteng learners:

Province Date Camp Address Contact person  

(800 learners)

01 – 07 July Emakhazeni Boarding School Machadodorp  
09 – 15 July Emakhazeni Boarding School Machadodorp  

(220 learners)

30 June – 7 July Edendale Independent School


Western Cape

(200 learners)

9 – 14 July The Cape Academy for Maths and Science


(300 learners)

2 – 7 July University of Limpopo Polokwane  
2 – 7 July University of Venda


(300 learners)

3 – 8 July UKZN



North West

(200 learners)

9 – 15 July Potch Boys High School Potchefstroom  
Eastern Cape

(800 learners)

28 June – 7 July Sumcay Camping Centre

Port Elizabeth  
13 – 22 July Walter Sisulu University


Free State

(200 learners)

17 – 22 July University of the Free State

Northern Cape


1 – 7 October Venue: TBC  
Gauteng Gr 11 camp

(220 learners)

1 – 7 October Edendale Independent School