Sun International and its Carnival City unit are sponsoring learners to enjoy weekend advanced science lessons through Sci-com Saturday school.
The programme, designed for select Grade 10 to 12 students, is receiving a R700,000 boost between Carnival City and parent company Sun International. Of this amount, R400,000 is from group, with the balance being injected by Carnival City.
Based in Brakpan, on Johannesburg’s east rand and a stone’s throw away from Carnival City, it focuses on disadvantaged students who usually battle to get to school and provides tuition in Computer Applied Technology, Mathematics, English, Physical Science, Life Science and Accounting. The programme is set to run for two years, between 2022 and 2024
“These are all key subjects for those seeking to enter the work force over the next few years,” says Heidi Edson, Sun International’s Group Socio-Economic Development Manager. “Through this programme, we hope to gear up disadvantaged students with information to help them succeed in the crucial Grade 11 and 12 years, as well as beyond.”
Students are taught from the basics up through to platting graphs and other more skilled aspects of mathematics. They also learn how to use mathematical instruments. “Beyond these skills, we also provide learners with experiments under supervision in a laboratory, as well as how to carry out scientific research and produce a report,” explains Mr L Nkopane, the Sci-com Foundation, the science and commercial centre that runs the programme.
When it comes to English, they are trained in comprehension skills, reading, and communication. In terms of accounting, they learn financial accounting, cost, and management accounting, as well as managing resources.
“The programme provides support to FET learners, as well as helping teachers introduce new concepts,” says Nkopane. The idea is to improve the output of engineers, chartered accountants, and technicians, all areas in which South Africa lags its peers. In India, for example, there are 166 new engineers per year being added to the work force. This drops to 28 per million in South Africa.
Sci-com helps bridge the gap between those schools that have resources, and those that don’t. It will also ensure that more students pass matric with key skills in areas that South Africa desperately needs.
At least 30 Saturdays need to be set aside for learning, with classes running from 08h15 to 14h40. Students are evaluated by Brakpan High School’s management as well as Department of Education officials.
Since the start of the intake for the inaugural year, more than 1,000 learners have benefitted and, so far, the feedback has been positive. Edson says, “we are grateful to be able to offer these children a better education, giving them a stronger chance in life”.