THE PORT of East London recently gave back to the community by funding the Scitech Maths and Science programmes for ggrade 12 pupils and teachers.
“The Port of East London is committed to make a difference where the province’s biggest need is – education. We specifically help the community in which we operate, to build capacity in maths and science,” said port manager of East London Transnet National Ports Authority (TPNA) port manager Sharon Sijako.
“Scitech also includes a strong teacher support element which is important since a key challenge in improving maths and science outcomes is teacher subject knowledge, as well as teaching techniques.
“The project, in conjunction with the Department of Education, offers much-needed seminars to teachers. Teachers are supported in specific content problem areas which are highlighted by the National Diagnostic Report published each year by the Department of Basic Education.”
Sijako said indicated that TNPA had partnered with ITEC and high schools to tackle the business challenges relating to critically scarce skills.
They want to facilitate a conducive learning environment for the improvement of mathematical and physical science skills, which offer a solid grounding for maritime careers.
ITEC is a non-profit organisation established over 30 years ago which has remained responsive to education and development needs in the province.
It offers a range of programmes that include maths, science and technology, reading and early childhood development.
Sijako said the third year of the funding programme of grade 12 maths and science classes on Saturdays for pupils from previously disadvantaged schools including those in Mdantsane, Gompo and Duncan Village, had recently been completed.
“The initiative also covered a support programme for the teachers from under- performing schools in the district,” said Sijako.
TNPA has funded the Scitech project over a number of years, impacting more than 2000 pupils learners to date.
Scitech learners have performed far better than the provincial and district average with most showing a significant improvement in their results.
Sijako said a number of Scitech pupils had successfully entered the maritime and engineering fields and other related careers. They were further impacted by life skills, leadership skills and career development support, which is integrated throughout the program.
“In 2017, 30 teachers and 240 Grade 12 pupils benefited from the program, including a Holiday School at ITEC’s premises in East London, and Sandisiwe High School in Mdantsane. The pupils also participated in TNPA career expos, maritime career guidance days and other academic interventions throughout the year.”
TNPA’s financial support included coordination, tutoring costs, computer training, field trips, transport of learners and staff, catering, administration costs and project management.