The (Maths and) Science behind the dream to succeed

Posted on October 09, 2015

For pupils in their final year of secondary school, the last quarter of the year is characterised by nerves, hopes and dreams as they prepare for the looming final examinations. Passing these exams with good marks signals the beginning of the makings of a dream. Grade 11 learners like Ofentse Maleka, Zanele Hadebe, Lethabo Mokhonoana, Simphiwe Mahlangu and Queen Sebola (pictured) have dreams of studying in varied fields such as Veterinary Sciences, Virology, Biochemistry and Dentistry. For these study programmes and others that provide students with more than 95% of the scarce skills identified by the Department of Labour, mathematics and physical science are required subjects.

Although the state of maths and science education in South Africa has been reported to be weak nationally, the University of Pretoria is working on uplifting the standard for teachers and learners from the Mamelodi community, where the University has a campus. The Mamelodi Mathematics and Physical Science After-School Programme aims to ensure that pupils improve their marks and that teachers are equipped with the knowledge necessary to teach these subjects better. The programme begins in January, when 300 pupils in Grade 10, 11, and 12 are invited to the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Campus to attend weekly additional classes in Mathematics and Physical Science. These classes apply innovative teaching methods; pupils get individual attention, they interact with their peers from other schools and they are encouraged to believe in their dreams.

‘Attending these classes is very good for me because I did not understand some of the concepts very well, but now my marks have improved and I stand a chance to study virology so that I can eliminate viruses that make people sick,’ said Simphiwe Mahlangu, a learner at Thuto Botlhale High School.

Donations from industry partners, such as EnviroServ Waste Management Ltd, are making it possible for the programme to supplement the regular after-school classes with a rigorous holiday programme.  It requires dedication and hard work for learners to spend school holidays doing school work rather than the fun activities that other teenagers may be up to. They do it because they have dreams, and it is these dreams that South Africa, the University of Pretoria and industry partners are nurturing. Actualising these dreams entails providing an environment and tools that unlock opportunities for pupils to pass matric, study at a tertiary institution, have a career and contribute towards a better quality of life in our country.

Group Chief Executive of EnviroServ, Mr Des Gordon says ‘We are not just a waste management company; we are an important part of South African society and are aware of the unique South African challenges. We are therefore pleased to provide resources to make the children’s dreams possible. Education is a basic need and EnviroServ is committed to playing a role in ensuring that future generations are skilled and literate.’

The short-term goal of the University of Pretoria’s Mamelodi Mathematics and Physical Science After-School Programme is to improve the marks of learners. In the long run, it is envisioned that these learners will achieve their personal goals while also being of service to others in a number of ways.

Donors wanting to become part of the dream may contact Lebo Ngwatle at 012 420 2977 or at [email protected].


- Author Advancement

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences