Local mobile operator 8ta has partnered with mining giant BHP Biliton and other companies to bring EduC8, a nationwide mathematics and science revision campaign at select Ster Kinekor theatres that is aimed at improving Grade 12 learners’ final year examination performances.
Launched in July last year, the initiative is targeted at learners from disadvantaged backgrounds across the country, with the aim of addressing any gaps that may exist in the learners’ grasp of maths and science. Other partners include Samsung, Primestars and the Department of Basic Education.
SHORTAGE OF KEY SKILLS
Given the country’s acute shortage of professionals in maths and science-related fields such as acturial science, engineering, medicing and accounting, South Africa needs to make progress in furthering its critical skills strategy.
However, the government cannot address these challenges alone – working together with the private sector, the two can help learners to perform better in maths and science will make them eligible for admission at tertiary institutions where they can study these key professions.
“We all acknowledge that Maths and Science education is the foundation for many of the jobs needed to develop the country’s infrastructure and therefore our economy’s growth,” said Telkom Mobile senior managing executive Amith Maharaj.
“Increasingly these subjects are a critical component of getting ahead and 8ta is proud to be part of this student initiative which sees government and the private sector working closely towards a common goal.”
SOMETHING TO BRAG ABOUT
Launched only last year, EduC8 already has something to brag about. Last year’s participant, Zanele Khumalo (18) who attended the revision sessions at Maponya Mall in Soweto is on her way to Cuba on a scholarship to study medicine.
“EduC8 helped me obtain the marks that I needed to be able to qualify for a scholarship and realise my dream of becoming a medical doctor. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity the programme has afforded me,” says the former learner at Letsibogo Girls High School.
BHP Biliton chairman Xolani Mkhwanazi said that there was a need to start at a grassroots level with skills development and education in order to successful transform the country and give youngsters equal opportunities to grow and succeed.
“At BHP Billiton we believe in resourcing the future and part of resourcing the future lies in recognising that our people are our greatest resource. We are nothing without talented, skilled employees.
“The children empowered by the EduC8 Matric Revision will be those talented, skilled employees, given the opportunity. We need to recognise that the future begins with the children of South Africa, and that that future begins now,” he said.
REVISION ON THE BIG SCREEN
How EduC8 works is that each revision session will be filmed from a single venue and simultaneously broadcast to a network of 15 digitised Ster-Kinekor theatres across the country. The revision sessions will run every Sunday from 22 July to 23 September 2012.
These will be presented in an educational and yet entertaining manner allowing learners to interact with subject experts who will be available at each cinema complex to assist with questions and answers from the pupils.
This year, EduC8 will reach three additional areas – Witbank, Richards Bay, and Kuruman – as part of the project’s commitment to being as widely accessible as possible, and giving equal opportunities to all disadvantaged learners.
Special allowance will once again be made for learners who will not be able to attend the revision sessions due to their geographical locations. Information will be available online and can be accessed from the Edusynergy website.
“At Samsung, part of our commitment is towards developing young skilled leaders in Africa,” said Samsung Africa’s Ntutule Tshenye. “One of our goals is to develop 10 000 Electronic Engineers across Africa by 2015, and a strong Maths and Science foundation is critical for students who want to succeed in the engineering field, as well as other related careers.”
BURSARIES UP FOR GRABS
The Sasol Inzalo Foundation (SaIF) and the national bursary organisation Studietrust will again in 2012 cooperate with the EduC8 initiative of Primestars by reserving at least five full-cost bursaries for qualifying applicants who attended the EduC8 Matric Revision programme.
The vision of the Sasol Inzalo Foundation is to be a significant contributor to sustainable economic growth in South Africa by focusing on skills development in engineering and science, through various programmes, including a bursary programme that started in 2010.
The main criteria for the selection of applicants are academic potential and financial need. Each EduC8 workbook made available to participants in the Matric Revision Programme contains a SaIF Bursary Programme application form with information on selection criteria and the application procedure. The closing date for 2013 applications is 30 September.
“As a consequence of the highly successful implementation of the EduC8 Initiative in 2011, we are excited and fully prepared for a bumper 2012 Matric Revision Programme which will assist the youth of this country to excel in their individual performances, setting themselves up to be fully prepared for university and subsequently, play a meaningful role in society in the years ahead,” said Primestarts Marketing MD Martin Sweet.