SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS OF THE FUTURE….
COULD BE FROM PONGOLA, KWAZULU-NATAL!!
The Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE), the Department of Education in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN DoE) and MIET Africa (NGO) signed a service level agreement formalising a public-private-civil society organisation partnership. The Partnership aims to significantly improve science and maths education in the Pongola education circuit of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa.
The Partnership will enable the delivery of a science and maths program throughout the region. The newly established Pongola Education Centre will have fully equipped science laboratory constructed by February 2011, funded by SIFTE. This will be the hub of the delivery of the Science and Maths Program, in which MIET will have a key role. The program will include;
- an enrichment program for top performing Grade 12 Science and Maths students drawn from 12 selected secondary schools around the Pongola Education Centre
- training of youth science facilitators who will visit schools throughout the region to support learners in science experiments using mobile kits purchased for each participating school
- supporting the establishment of science and maths teachers’ ‘subject clubs’ which will provide opportunities for professional development and networking
The project aims to encourage more learners from the impoverished communities around Pongola to take science and maths as subjects for the senior certificate which would increase the opportunities for these learners to pursue careers not only in the Sugar Industry, but also in careers in the agriculture, science and engineering fields. It is only through partnerships such as this one, that the Department is able to reach the 6500 schools in what is a largely rural and poverty-stricken province.
SITFE has been supporting education in KZN for over 40 years through bursaries, sponsorships and ad hoc funding in partnership with the Department of Education and NGOs like MIET Africa. SITFE are now focusing their support on more long term collaborative projects that will provide more sustainable benefit to the region.
MIET Africa has had a long-standing relationship with the Department of Education and funders, both local and international. Since 1993, the organization has worked towards strengthening the Department’s ability to improve the quality of education for all learners, by implementing partnerships programs aimed at reducing barriers to effective learning and teaching.
The project is, without doubt, an excellent example of a public-private-civil society partnership that sets out to address the demand for more South Africans to pursue careers in science and engineering!