Lab for Mpumalanga school

Lab for Mpumalanga school

A focus on education by the IDC’s corporate social investment unit sees a school in Mpumalanga get a boost in the teaching of the sciences.

The opening of a new science laboratory is a dream come true for Makhosana Manzini Secondary School, one of the schools the Industrial Development Corporation has adopted to enhance learning and teaching of science subjects.

School principal Martin Nkuna is “elated” that the school now has a fully-equipped science lab where learners will be able to conduct science experiments.

“I appreciate what the IDC has done for the school,” he says. “This is a dream come true.” The laboratory was built from scratch at a cost of some R1.5 million, thanks to the IDC’s social corporate investment activities.

The laboratory was officially opened on 20 July 2012, and the event was attended by Mpumalanga’s MEC for education Reginah Mhaule and the IDC’s divisional executive for marketing and corporate affairs, Neo Mokhesi.

Learners in grades 10 to 12 will use the science lab for biology, physics and maths lessons. Grade 9 learners will be also be afforded the opportunity to use it for technology lessons, says Nkuna.

“The laboratory is of the highest standard and it is going to assist our learners with scientific and technological experiments. Both the teachers and learners are very excited about this new development taking place in the school,” says Nkuna.

Located in Calcutta, Mpumalanga, Makhosana Manzini Secondary School became one of IDC’s four adopted schools adopted schools in the province after the corporation discovered just how well the school was doing in maths and science, despite not having a science lab.

“The matric class of 2011 scored a 71,8% pass rate in physics and 61% pass rate in maths. We achieved four distinctions in physics and one distinction in maths in the same year,” Nkuna says.

Bonginkosi Mnisi is a former learner the school is very proud of. In his 2010 matric exams he achieved 100% in science and maths, and is now studying towards a degree in astro-physics at the University of Cape Town.

He, too, was one of the guests at the opening of the science laboratory.

“We decided to build the laboratory so that the school can produce more learners like Bonginkosi and also to assist them by providing better educational resources,” said IDC’s corporate social investment officer, Charlotte Mekgwe.

Mekgwe added that this year the IDC will go further by adopting additional schools.

“The adoption of 18 more schools should take place in the next three to five years. The IDC is proud of its corporate social investment initiatives and would like to see this benefit more pupils,” she added.

Makhosana Manzini Secondary School is one of the high schools around the country that the IDC has “adopted” as part of its corporate social investment programme.

The programme prioritises education and supports initiatives that are dedicated to the improvement of the learning and teaching of maths, science and technology subjects at secondary school level.

The IDC’s corporate social investment emphasis is towards rural areas, with a particular focus education. The corporation works closely with provincial education departments.

The IDC got involved in the schools project in 2007, initially providing funds for 15 schools with an additional 15 the following year.

Requests from schools vary, with some asking for assistance in supplementing their maths and science textbook collections and others needing science labs refurbished.

After realising that cash donations took a long time to get to needy schools, the IDC opted to supply maths and science equipment directly to schools. This is done through the IDC’s much faster procurement process which has approved suppliers in its database.

Besides assisting schools with science and maths learning material, the IDC recognises top learners at each school with full tertiary education scholarships.

The scholarship covers tuition fees towards a science, engineering, technology or commerce degree, books and accommodation at a tertiary institution of their choice in South Africa.

“Bonginkosi Mnisi is one of the beneficiaries of an IDC scholarship,” says Tebogo Molefe, the IDC’s senior manager for corporate social investment.

Skills, particularly in the fields of maths, science and technology, are essential for a growing economy. “Our investment in education shows that with simple interventions, the performance of learners can significantly improve,” Molefe adds.