I attended the launch of the 2016 eduCate initiative on behalf of Teenzone. I attended not exactly knowing what to expect. All I saw when I read the invite was ‘math and science’. Being a language nerd, these words naturally scare me; I’m sure they scare a few of you too. The event was held at the Goldreef Conference Centre and was decked out with the best of the best. A group of children opened the event with a choreographed dance routine, immediately setting the tone as to why we had all gathered here.The Masters of Ceremony (MCs) brought humour to an otherwise serious matter. When they introduced the first speaker I started to listen, like really listen.
Mr Martin Sweet who among other things has an impressive track record in conceptualizing and managing projects such as Take a Child to Work Day for instance. Mr Sweet became an admitted attorney in 1981. He went on to achieve a High Diploma in Tax Law and completed a Wits Graduate School of Business, Commerce, Management of Land and an Industrial Relations Diploma. Yes….wow. He is the managing director of Primestars Marketing. Mr Sweet started by welcoming all in attendance emphasizing the people that make the initiative possible. He further on went to emphasize the influence and inspiration of Nelson Mandela’s legacy- fitting considering Nelson Mandela Day speedily approaching.
Mathematics is the spinal cord of Science, Engineering and Technology development. Therefore it is critical to South Africa innovation and to our future. This is why the National Development Plan places such importance on Science and why eduCate is launching again this year encouraging learners to select pure Maths and equipping them with the means to excel. This is done to ensure that learners are able to enter tertiary institutions and therefore enter fields with good employment prospects.
The program is made up of ten pre-recorded sessions each lasting over two hours. Five sessions are on Maths and five are on Science. These sessions together cover the entire Matric Curriculum of the subjects. These sessions have been developed to aid disadvantaged South African youth. The program is filmed from a single venue and simultaneously broadcasted to a network of digitized Sterkinekor cinema complexes throughout South Africa. Schools selected in conjunction with the Department of Basic Education include historically disadvantaged schools.
The sessions span ten consecutive Sunday mornings from 24 July 2016. Learners will be transported from their schools to selective Sterkinekor cinemas. Expert teachers and revision is therefore made available to all that attend. In addition they will receive booklets that contain crucial Maths and Science notes as well as refreshments. Past interactions with learners that have attended the cinema experience have expressed that they found the learning environment very stimulating and as a result concentration and information retention is achieved.
The eduCate program proves that businesses can contribute to the education of South Africa’s future leaders and workforce. Capitec is one of the major contributors to the program and have also been with it from the start. Sasria is their newest key sponsor. Those are but two sponsors, there are many many more. However, eduCate is overall a small team that decided to make a difference. 52% of South African’s youth are unemployed and it is up to these sponsors to give them more career opportunities. By sharing expertise, resources and facilities with the public, they are investing in the future of South Africa.
Mr Sweet ended he’s speech with the quote:
‘The only way to successfully redistribute wealth is through the redistribution of skills.’
Other speakers went on to emphasize the equal importance of teachers in the field of Maths and Science. Speakers urged that learners enter the field of education. Without qualified teachers, the growth of the economy will continue to decline.
A representative of the Department of Education commented on the eduCate program and approved the success of the program. The representative ended off his speech by listing the top ten scarce skills in South Africa:
- Electrical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Quantity Surveying
- Project Operating Management
- Finance Management
- Physical Engineering and Science Technicians
- Industrial Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
The event was overall extremely enlightening. The more the speakers spoke the more I listened and the more I became aware of just how influential this program is. This is definitely a program to get behind!
By: Kriszti Bottyan