Students of the programme

2014 CASE STUDY:

Beatrix addresses skills shortage

With a view to improving the Free State’s global competitiveness and boosting the supply of science and technology skills needed for research and development, Beatrix has partnered with the provincial Department of Education and the Kutlwanong Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology in rolling out the Mathematics and Science Enrichment Programme.

The programme aims to improve Grade 10 to 12 learners’ performance in mathematics and science – and Beatrix helps to widen its reach within the Free State.

Based on a long-standing relationship with the Free State Department of Education, Beatrix decided to support the roll-out of this programme as it is in line with the operation’s strategic focus on education and training as one of the building blocks of a sound and sustainable economy. 

The Free State Department of Education spends a significant portion of its budget on mentoring under-performing schools through initiatives like the Mathematics and Science Enrichment Programme. As co-funder, Beatrix invested R1.5 million in this programme in 2014 – for the benefit of 232 learners from various schools. The programme runs at the Mamello, Leseding and Phehello centres in Virginia, Welkom and Odendaalsrus respectively.

Extracurricular workshops are presented to educators and learners, including teaching material, study guides, science equipment, stationery and lunch at these centres. 

Kutlwanong, a non-profit organisation, was founded in 2001 by veteran educator and social entrepreneur, Tumelo Mabitsela, with specific focus on mathematics, science and accounting education for high school learners in previously disadvantaged communities. Kutlwanong researches, designs, delivers and oversees its programmes, and tracks its impact on learners’ lives well beyond their schooling years – reaching further through career exhibitions as well as life and learning skills sessions.

Regular meetings are held with learners’ parents, schools, the Free State Department of Education and Beatrix to report on progress. In the Free State alone, Kutlwanong learners achieved 21 mathematics and 16 science distinctions in 2013 when it was first implemented.

Matric (National Senior Certificate) results achieved by the 232 learners who participated in the Mathematics and Science Enrichment Programme in 2014 are encouraging: 96.9% of them passed matric with 46.7% achieving a bachelor’s pass (university entrance). The average pass rate for mathematics was 54.9% and 53.7% for science. A total of 58 distinctions (above 80%) were achieved in 2014: 29 in mathematics and 29 in science.

Commenting on the programme, Hilda Moabi, Unit Manager: Corporate Affairs at Beatrix, says: “It is important for us, as a mining company, to have learners who are motivated to further their education in engineering, science and finance-related professions”. She is also encouraged by Kutlwanong’s monitoring and assessment of learners to ensure continuously good performance. “Some of the learners enrolled in this programme tell us that they have learned to enjoy mathematics and science since participating in the programme.”

In the province of Gauteng, a similar programme is offered at the Sibanye Gold Academy in collaboration with the provincial Department of Education. This programme benefits learners in grades 11 and 12 at the Kgothalang and Simunye schools in Bekkersdal, Westonaria.   

In addition to this programme, Sibanye also offers bursaries to selected candidates for study towards degrees in mining, as well as mechanical, electrical, metallurgical and chemical engineering, geology, finance and surveying at South African universities. The Group sources its workforce from this pool of graduates.