Telkom Bursaries

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Telkom offers a full-time bursary program covering tertiary tuition in a range of fields related to the telecommunications industry.

Telkom history begins in the early days of the South African telecommunications industry, which began with a single telegraph line connecting Cape Town and Simonstown. The introduction of the conventional telephone and the installation of international undersea phone lines connecting South Africa to the rest of the world gave the South African telecommunications network the impetus it needed to develop further. This network was operated by the South African Post Office for the first few years of its existence.

In 1989, the decision was taken to separate this organization into two dedicated postal and telecommunications companies in order to better manage the responsibilities of both. Telkom SA Ltd. was founded on 1 October 1991, at the same time that the South African Post Office was divided into the Department of Posts and Telecommunications and two state owned companies, the South African Post Office Ltd. and Telkom.

In the same decade, mobile telephone operations were launched in South Africa by Telkom in partnership with Vodafone. The company has since risen to become one of the largest in South Africa, and continues to hold the vast majority of the market share in the country.

Telkom Bursary Program Overview

The Telkom bursary foundation was first established in 1998, and was officially registered as a trust by 2002. The bursary program is aimed at creating and diversifying opportunities for students within the fields of communication and related areas. In particular, Telkom focuses on providing opportunities for promising candidates from disadvantaged communities to pursue tertiary education in relevant fields. Deserving candidates are eligible to have various costs relating to their studies covered in part or in full, and offers study opportunities at many universities and technical institutions throughout the country. In exchange for funding, recipients of Telkom bursaries are obligated to work for Telkom after graduating, generally for a period equal to the term of funding received.

Telkom offers bursaries to potential candidates from their first year of tertiary studies, and continues to do so up until their fourth academic year. All bursaries are offered on a full-time basis. In addition to undergraduates, a select number of postgraduate bursaries are also offered to students who continue their studies and research through the Telkom Centres of Excellence program.

As a collaborative effort between Telkom, academic institutions, the telecommunications industry at large, and the South African government, bursaries offered through the Centres of Excellence program are aimed at the promotion and facilitation of research into areas of interest associated with telecommunications, information technology, and related fields, along with the development of new technologies that can contribute to the existing telecommunications infrastructure in South Africa. To date, sixteen Centres of Excellence have been established throughout the country.

Telkom also runs a school grant program that aims to providing assistance for public school learners from low-income families and rural areas between grades 10 and 12. Focusing specifically on the areas of science and mathematics, this program is targeted at high school learners from disadvantaged backgrounds who show promise in these fields. The program assists with registration, books, and tuition fees, and in specific cases also provides residence and extra tuition fees.

Bursary Benefits

Different bursary packages offered by Telkom are designed to cover different aspects of each individual student’s education. First and foremost, these bursaries are intended to cover tuition fees for a set period, either fully or in part depending on the specific bursary and qualification.

Further to this benefit, successful candidates may also be subsidised to assist with registration and administration fees and the purchasing of necessary study materials such as books, stationery, and other equipment. Some bursaries also provide assistance with living costs, such as accommodation in a residency, as well as a potential stipend for day-to-day expenses.

Qualifications Covered

Telkom bursaries cover a substantial range of fields of study related to the telecommunications industry. On an university undergraduate level, these include qualifications in Engineering, Computer & Electronic Engineering, Light Current Electronic Engineering, Light Current Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Information Technology, Software Development, Information Systems, Business Science, and Marketing Management.

University of Technology qualifications covered include Engineering, Electrical Light Current Engineering, Computer Systems Engineering, Information Technologies, Communication Networks, Technical Applications, and Marketing.

At the postgraduate level, qualifications offered by the Telkom Centres of Excellence currently include Light Current Engineering and Computer Science, with plans to add further qualifications in the coming years.

Application Process

Before applying for a Telkom bursary, prospective candidates need to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements for eligibility. At a basic level, South African citizenship and proven financial need are essential prerequisites.

  • For those wishing to apply to a university, a valid matric certificate with a minimum of 60% for Science, English, and Mathematics is required, while current tertiary students must maintain a minimum average of 60% with no failed subjects.
  • For technical institutions, a minimum of 50% for the above subjects is required, while the same restrictions apply to current tertiary students.

If these minimum prerequisites are met, the application process for Telkom bursaries is fairly straightforward. Application forms for each academic year are made available from 1 March of the preceding year, and can be downloaded from the Telkom website, or collected from a Telkom Centre for Learning & Organisational Capacity at any of the following addresses:

  • Cape Town: 8 Bosmansdam Road, Milnerton
  • Johannesburg: 14 Heronmere Road, Booysens
  • Durban: 4 Oliver Lea Drive, Rossburgh
  • Port Elizabeth: Corner 16th Avenue and Main Road, Walmer
  • Pretoria: 1039 Old Kempton Park/Pretoria Road, Olifantsfontein
  • Bloemfontein: 11 East Burger Street

Application forms and supporting documents as noted on the forms themselves must be filled out comprehensively and submitted to one of the above centres along with certified copies of the applicant’s ID document and either a Matric certificate or university transcript (also certified copies). The closing date for bursary applications is 31 May of each year.

Telkom has well over 3.4 million telephone lines in operation.


Application Due Date
31 May 2018


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