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Engen Maths and Science School celebrates top Gqeberha learners

| Social Responsibility

The Engen Maths and Science Schools (EMSS) 2023 matric class in Gqeberha has achieved flying colours. Engen celebrated the effort and sacrifice of the top learners at an awards ceremony at Kariega Uitenhage Townhall on 17 February 2024.

The EMSS programme focuses on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science, as well as English.

Explains Engen’s CSI Manager, Olwethu Mdabula: “These subjects are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development.

“While Engen is extremely proud of all the 2023 matriculants, I must make special mention of, and commend the incredible results attained by our top achievers,” adds Mdabula.

KwaNobuhle’s Viwe Noyo notched up four distinctions, making him the first in his family to matriculate and make it to university. An alumnus of Molly Blackburn Senior Secondary, Viwe has big plans for his future.  

Securing a coveted place to study a BSc (Physical Science and Mathematics) at Nelson Mandela University in 2024, Viwe attributes much of his success to the EMSS in Uitenhage, emphasising the programme’s value in providing him with additional educational resources and study materials.

"I attended classes every Saturday and found it to be fantastic for maths and science revision. The teachers covered topics we did not study at school, and it helped me reach my full potential," comments Viwe.

Offering advice to the matrics of 2024, Viwe encourages them to be proactive and study ahead.

“It’s going to be a tough year, but that does not mean it’s impossible.”

Viwe acknowledges his parents' love during his academic journey, who, despite financial constraints, showed him their unwavering support.

“My mother really stood behind me; she motivates me to keep going and study no matter how difficult it is.”

Reflecting on challenges during the matric year, Viwe says the final exams were particularly stressful due to a heavy workload.

Veeplaas local, Siviwe Mbeki aced matric with distinctions in maths and physical science securing the Lomso Comprehensive School alumnus a coveted place at Rhodes University in 2024 to study a BSc.

Siviwe attributes his academic success to the EMSS he attended from grade 10-12 in Uitenhage, emphasising its additional educational resources and study materials in preparation for his matric exams.

Offering advice to the matric class of 2024, Siviwe encourages learners to be proactive and put in the time and effort.

“Matric is a critical time, so they need to be prepared to sacrifice and put in the time to achieve their goals.”

Siviwe acknowledges his parents' love and support during his academic journey, who, despite financial constraints, were unwaveringly supportive.

Reflecting on challenges during the matric year, Siviwe says that finding a quiet place to study was difficult because Veeplaas is a lively place.

“It is import to staying calm when under stress and to always prioritize your education over anything.”

EMSS seeks to harness the potential of talented young people to help boost the pool of scarce skills in the country.

“The programme is a lifeline for these students, offering them the resources and guidance necessary to achieve academic excellence and pursue higher education,” continues Mdabula.

The recently released Department of Basic Education (DBE) technical report reveals encouraging improvements in the pass rates for mathematics and physical science, with mathematics increasing from 55% in 2022 to 63.5% in 2023.

However, a concerning aspect is that out of the 166 337 learners who passed maths, only

41 273 achieved a mark of 60% and above, which is the minimum qualifying maths mark for university entrance to engineering, commerce and science degrees.

“This data underscores the invaluable role that EMSS plays in providing crucial support to young learners, particularly those demonstrating potential in STEM subjects,” says Mdabula.

In addition to mathematics, the pass rate for physical science also showed a positive trend, rising from 74.6% to 76.2%; however, only 35 468 learners achieved a mark of 60% and above, emphasising the continued need for initiatives like EMSS to bolster education in this critical subject.

“By providing extra tuition in gateway subjects like English, Mathematics and Physical Science, the programme strives to bridge the educational gap and empower students to reach their full potential,” affirms Mdabula.

Engen will host a series of awards ceremonies in February at various EMSS centres across South Africa where the programme’s Grade 10-12 learners will be honoured, and the top achievers named.

These centres include Cape Town (classes are held at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Manzomthombo High), Eastern Cape (East London, Cala, and Gqeberha), Johannesburg (Zakariyya Park Combined School), and KwaZulu-Natal (at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School, and Umlazi Commercial High School).

“Starting off in the late 1980’s as Engen Saturday Schools, EMSS remains central to Engen’s efforts to contribute to the growth and transformation of South Africa,” continues Mdabula.

“The programme, with over 1 500 learners registered annually, continues to work tirelessly to help transform young people’s lives, with a focus on creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.”

Engen is incredibly proud of all EMSS learners who completed matric in 2023, often despite extremely trying circumstances.

As a company, Engen champions the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 – Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

“Engen is keenly aware that access to quality education and gender equality is everybody’s business, and that it owes it to its employees, customers, and broader society to make every effort to drive positive change.

“It is Engen’s ultimate reward to help set talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also their families and the broader economy of South Africa,” concludes Mdabula.

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