Dominique Pröbstl, a Communication Management master’s degree student in UP’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, was involved in one of South Africa’s most ambitious corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects – the establishment of the Mandela School of Science and Technology, based in the South African town of Mvezo.
The school, launched in 2013, is a collaborative effort between Siemens and the Department of Education and is geared towards boosting the appreciation of Science, Mathematics and Technology amongst rural children in South Africa. Its aim is to educate the next generation of South Africans who will lead and change the future of the country. The school practices the national curriculum and focuses on three core pillars: skills development, sustainability and local value creation.
Due to Pröbstl’s interest in sustainability and CSR initiatives he, with Siemens’ backing, devised a strategy and roll-out plan for the school. The school was built on the principles of sustainability and is already making a significant difference in the Mvezo community.
During Pröbstl’s undergraduate and honours studies he explored business development and communication strategy. He based his master’s research on the impact of the Siemens CSR-project in Mveso and investigated the impact of this project on the community, teachers and learners. The Mveso-community at large enabled Pröbstl to acknowledge and document the project’s influence as an asset to the surrounding areas.
The research emphasised the project’s commitment to local development and infrastructure improvements, such as labour, suppliers, intellectual capacity, skills development and job creation. The value-added education of the learners increased drastically and is illustrated by their ambition to attend tertiary education facilities. The Department of Education and Siemens are committed to maintain the current systems and processes in operation at the school.