Maths and Science Development Programme, South Africa
Learners at Enoch Mthetho High School in Noupoort have been benefiting from the state-of-the-art Maths and Science laboratory that was funded by Noupoort Wind Farm in 2017. With the ongoing support and guidance of Noupoort Wind Farm and the Department of Basic Education, this school encourages its learners to take up Physical Science as a subject, driving the development of STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects, to instil learner confidence.
“The Maths and Science laboratory enhances learning and deeper understanding for the learners, which is always key with a subject such as Physical Science,” explained Mr. Chiware Farai, Physics teacher, Enoch Mthetho High School.
The Noupoort Wind Farm’s mathematics and science development programme includes the funding of STEM subject teachers, including Mathematics, Physical Science and Computer Application Technology teachers for Grades 8 to 12. The programme also funded the upgrade of the computer laboratory with 30 desktop computers as well as a science laboratory with all the necessary science equipment, resources and text books required for Grades 8 to 12. More recently, laboratory coats, science goggles and other necessary equipment have been provided.
“The school was previously unable to provide these subject choices, which meant that students missed out on these essential school subjects. But since the inception of the maths, science and CAT programme, learners can make different and broader career choices that in the long term will help narrow the gap and provide for scarce skills, which our country is in dire need of,” explained Economic Development Manager for Noupoort Wind Farm, Sandisiwe Mntonintshi.
With the introduction of new equipment and teachers, the school hopes to increase the interest in these subjects. Learners who didn’t have an opportunity to study Science before, are now able to study this important subject, which will no doubt expand their horizons in terms of possible career choices as well as brighten their future.
According to the Centre for Risk Analysis’s report titled 'Education is the single greatest obstacle to socio-economic advancement in South Africa' – only 6.9% of matric candidates pass maths, which greatly limits tertiary opportunities. Considering that one of the biggest challenges South African entrepreneurs face is a lack of STEM skills and that by 2020 about 80% of all jobs will require young people to have some sort of STEM education, it is critical and imperative that learners get support.