(Cape Town, Monday 22 May 2017) Today, the Zenex Foundation launches an innovative High School Mathematics, Science and English Project in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Education.
South Africa is plagued by a scarcity of skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. South Africa’s poor participation rates and poor performance in Mathematics and Science, affects the pipeline of learners accessing tertiary education in careers requiring these subjects. This in turn has a negative impact on the economic growth and the development of the country. This Project focuses on improving Maths, Science and English at high schools to address these shortages.
The Project will be implemented at 10 disadvantaged schools in the Metropole North and East Education Districts in the Western Cape. Over R24 million will be invested by the Zenex Foundation in these two districts over the next five years, from 2017 until 2021.
“We are delighted to announce the launch of this Project and we believe that it has the potential to make a significant positive contribution to one of South Africa’s most dire challenges – a lack of quality passes and low participation rates of disadvantaged black learners in the important subjects and careers requiring Mathematics and Science at university,” said Adv. Thandi Orleyn, Chairperson of the Zenex Foundation.
The innovative Project launched today, will work at four levels in the 10 schools. The first involves training and mentoring school managers; the second level provides subject content and pedagogical training and in –class room support to Mathematics, Science and English teachers; the third level sees us working directly with learners to provide additional academic support. The learner support will be a blend of ‘face-to-face teaching’ methods with modern technology to ensure learners prepared for the skills required in the 21st century. The learners will also participate in academic learner camps and Mathematics and Science Clubs The fourth level involves tertiary access support to learners through career assessments and guidance to guide learners in their study choices. Learners will receive assistance with university and bursary applications and life skills to bridge school and university study.
“As a government, we are working hard to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of all our learners and encourage many more of our learners to take mathematics and science, which are gateway subjects for the economic development of our province. If we achieve this objective, we will improve the quality of the whole system, improving learner performance and retention in all grades and ultimately better outcomes in the National Senior Certificate,” said the Western Cape MEC for Education, Ms Debbie Schäfer.
Partnerships are key to the Zenex Foundation’s work and this Project involved adopting partnerships at a number of levels, which are pivotal to its success. To this end, the Foundation is in partnership with three well-established, experienced education organisations to implement the project to deliver an integrated model of support in their respective areas of specialisation. The University of Cape Town’s Schools Development Unit (UCT-SDU) to support school leaders and teachers; The Siyavula Trust will deliver the supplementary learner support through a technology-assisted Mathematics and Science programme and Tsebo Education Network (TEN) will provide the tertiary access support. The Foundation has established close working relationships with the District who provide much needed guidance and support for the Project. The District office has played a leading role in securing buy-in from schools. The partnership with the District is critical to enhance chances of success and sustainability of the Project.
“We partner with the Western Cape Department of Education on a range of educational initiatives and this project has the potential to increase the number of Black learners who achieve quality results in Mathematics and Science and access to university,” concludes Adv. Orleyn.
“We are pleased to partner with the Zenex Foundation in implementing this innovative programme. We are confident that our schools and learners will benefit in this partnership,” concludes Ms Debbie Schäfer.
Ends (653 words)
Issued by StratComms Advisory Services on behalf of The Zenex Foundation
For more information contact
The Zenex Foundation
Tel: (011) 481-7833
For more information please visit www.zenexfoundation.org.za
Notes to editors
About the High Schools programme
The Mathematics, Science and English High School Project is implemented in three Provinces – the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The multi-provincial rollout substantively increases the scale and reach of the project, with a total of R72 million scheduled to be spent across the three provinces. The geographical contexts are varied, ranging from the rural, to semi-urban and urban areas, specifically in disadvantaged areas which are most in need of this support.
The Zenex Foundation selected the participating schools in conjunction with the Western Cape Department of Education. Selection criteria covered three main areas:
• The functionality of schools, i.e. the ability of schools to provide an organised and structured environment in which effective teaching and learning can take place;
• Race equity, i.e. schools with more than 50% African learners and teachers; and
• Academic performance, i.e. schools that had a pass rate above 40%.
The selected schools in the Western Cape are:
Iqhayiya Secondary School
KwaMfundo High School
Luhlaza High School
Manyano High School
Masiyile High school
Bardale High School
Manzomthombo High School
Mfuleni Secondary School
Ravensmead Secondary School
Sinenjongo High School
About The Zenex Foundation
The Zenex Foundation is an independent specialist grant-making agency supporting projects in Mathematics, Science and language education in South Africa. The Zenex Foundation was established in 1995 in Mathematics, Science and Language education in South Africa and has invested over R800 million in educational initiatives. . The Foundation does extensive research into various aspects of the country’s education system, and develops programmes and projects that would ultimately advance proficiency in Mathematics, Science and Language.
The Foundation values innovation and prizes highly its partnership with government, donors and service providers.
You may visit our website at www.zenexfoundation.org.za for detailed information on the work of the Foundation.