MEC of Education in Limpopo Province, Hon. Maaria Ishmael Kgetjepe;
Former Minister of Public Service and Administration, Mrs Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi;
Hosi Ndengeza, Traditional Authority of Ndengeza villages;
Representatives of the Malungani Family;
Representatives of the Provincial Department of Education;
Teachers and Learners;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Thank you for allowing me to address you on this important occasion.
The purpose of my brief remarks with you today is to announce the launch of an incredibly exciting initiative, the Maths and Science Learner’s Programme.
This programme is a collaborative effort, designed to make a humble contribution towards addressing present challenges in education, and propel learners into the future – equipped with the highest standards of tutelage.
The Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation centres the critical importance of education in our society.
The Foundation is focused on numerous interventions in the sector – from the provision of buildings and equipment, to the development of programmes around life skills, providing learning, teaching, training and curriculum support and supplementary tuition programmes, among other areas of strategic involvement.
Towards these ends, the Motlanthe Foundation has partnered with Asili Capital Partners Ltd, in a co-ordinated effort with various schools and the education district office, to provide extra maths and science lessons.
The schools that have been selected for inclusion in this programme include Hawuka High School, Honoka Combined School, Mokutu High School, Tseane High School, Macema High School, Malenga High School, among others.
The Statistician General states that enrolment of Grade R is 96% but only 22% of that cohort of learners pass Grade 12. This is staggering cries out for decisive intervention.
Coupled with these statistics are contemporary realities that are rooted in historical injustices.
The majority of parents are unable to provide support to their children. Living far from places of work, stuck on long commutes home and faced with illiteracy and time-shortages, they are often incapable of providing assistance with school work.
As such, teachers, tutors and other education providers occupy an elevated role in our communities. It is such a recognition that has fuelled the creation of the Maths and Science Learner’s’ Programme.
A better education opens the way to improved economic prospects. It represents one node in the complex system that will improve material conditions for our country’s majority; one feature in the journey towards a more complete realisation of our freedom, as a South African people.
We are collectively responsible for creating a prosperous South African society. The creation of the Maths and Science Learner’s Programme falls within this mandate.
This after-school programme will see learners getting the benefit of extra lessons – supplementing their formal education – that will take place after school, on weekends and during school holidays.
The programme will begin with students most in need, those poised on the precipice of secondary education – the grade 11s and 12s – who require tutoring to gain entry into tertiary education facilities.
As part of today’s pledge, The Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation will fund approved teachers within our budget. We recognise that the success of this programme is dependent on it being sustainable. As such, we will be embarking on fundraising to ensure the longevity of this intervention.
Today, however, we will commit R1 million to the programme.
Together with our partners, it is our collective hope that this initiative will equip learners to improve their circumstances, find employment and be productive members of South African society.
The importance of Maths and Science, in our world, cannot be understated. The STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – form the critical foundation for multiple aspects of our daily life, from buildings to bridges, cell phones to computers and medical devices and procedures to space travel.
The future workplace is one driven by technology and present times call for innovation.
Given the recognition that technology is bringing major changes into our lives, it is our responsibility to prepare our youth for the world that they will and are occupying.
The future is not the domain of the aged, but a realm owned by the young – who stand as the inheritors of our world.
I leave you with the words of Nelson Mandela, who once said:
Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
Thank you for your kind attention.