STEM has taken South Africa’s education sector forward

STEM has taken South Africa’s education sector forward

Farai Diza

South Africa’s education sector had been under heavy scrutiny ever since the World World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report  for 2014 – 2015 was released.

This report carried unpleasant reading for the local education sphere as it stated that among 144 countries in the world, South Africa was ranked at the bottom in science and maths education.

The Academy Science of South Africa released a report titled “Critical Issues in School Mathematics and Science: Pathways to Progress”

This well documented report highlighted that poor academic schooling led to poor quality performances by health practitioners, engineers and scientists.

Major shakeups were made and South Africa’s well respected education minister, Mrs Angie Motshekga there in new educational mandates into the fray.

It is now pleasing to note that pass rates in these two subjects, which have a massive influence towards any career path, are now the darling of students all thanks to a new programme aimed at enhancing the quality of education.

STEM leads South African education in the right direction

South Africa has been at the forefront of developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths education . Known by its STEM acronym, this project has really taken the local education sector to greater heights.

Education analysts have hailed STEM as a step towards the right direction because the country is able to create future leaders through this worthy programme.

“STEM provides strategic direction for the development of the country. This is because STEM is an integrated programme. It equips schooling students with the relevant skills that allow them to go on and integrate them in their professional careers. Interesting enough, the fastest growing skill sector is in the STEM environment,” said Professor Felix Dakora from Tshwane University of Technology.

Professor Dakora also pointed out that many first world countries such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are dealing the fruits of STEM education.

Organizations join hands to make STEM a resounding success

Many Non Governmental Organizations, the public and private sectors, the corporate world and civil educational groups are pouring in a lot of resources to make sure that STEM is able to fulfill its mandates.

In 2013 alone, South Africa’s corporate sector channeled at least R3-billion into

education and training initiatives . A step that has seen these figures growing with each passing year.

One organization that has been at the forefront of STEM education in South Africa is the Science Circus Africa.

Funded by the Australian government, the SCA has endorsed several proponents that have led to the success of STEM.

These components include teacher training workshops, public science demonstrations and working together with communities and the government in ensuring that educational policies are met.

Case Study: DuPont and STEM

“As a science company, DuPont is dedicated to advancing science and science education on the African continent,” said Bjoern Meth, Country Leader for DuPont South Africa.

“We proudly sponsored Horizons on Bloomberg TV Africa, the first television series to focus on science and innovation on the African continent. Now through The DuPont Community Fund, we are happy to commence this partnership with Sci-Bono to expand this much needed project and help inspire our country’s future scientists and engineers. Only through improved STEM education will South Africa be able to increase employment, development and competitiveness”.

STEM has taken South Africa forward

STEM has seen parents, students and parents all working positively together and the results are visible.

Minister Motshekga has in the past reiterated that ordinary South Africans have an integral role to play in the development of education in South Africa.

“The improvements that will emanate from the new model of national assessment include the use of a single assessment tool…. The case of the ANAs [which were] used for a variety of purposes, is now avoided through the three separate assessment tools, each with a specific purpose,” Motshekga said.

Skills training to teachers, through STEM has paved a new era for South Africa’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths sector.


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