/ 25 April 2005

The multiplying effect of success

It’s a chilly day at Fezeka Senior Secondary School in the Western Cape township of Gugulethu and nothing can stop the freezing gusts blowing through broken classroom windows. But not even the sudden cold front and drizzle can dampen the spirits of the school’s educators:a new maths and science centre has just been donated to Fezeka.

Donated by insurance company Alexander Forbes in partnership with the Department of Education, the Fezeka Maths and Science Centre is kitted out with state of the art computers and software. Professional and highly trained educators will soon be provided to staff it. In addition, Alexander Forbes plans to offer the school’s top science and maths student a bursary to study at a tertiary institution. Bursary opportunities will also be provided for each year’s most improved student.

Although Fezeka already possesses a computer, it is utilised for the purposes of training students in general computer literacy and not in specialised subjects such as maths and science.

‘The donation has come at the right time,” says Yolisa Martin, Fezeka’s maths teacher who will be running the centre. ‘Given the fact that maths will be compulsory up to Grade 12, our learners are going to need all the help they can get to improve in these subjects.”

Fezeka is a worthy recipient of the center. Despite scant educational supplies and chronic shortages of qualified teachers, the school is known to have produced outstanding achievers in the fields of maths and, particularly, science. An example of this was the recent Khanyangula Science Expo organised by the Medical Research council and sponsored by the Shuttleworth Foundation. Two learners from Fezeka, Khahliso Njeje and Lebohang Panda, received gold awards for originality, innovation and creative thinking. And in March 2002 the school embarked on a joint science project called the Permission to Dream partnership with the A-Man International Science and Discovery Centre, which led to the donation of a telescope.

‘It is important that the next generation of mathematicians, scientists and technologists receive world-class schooling,” says Martin. ‘What is needed is direct, practical assistance to help schools provide the right learning environment in which to stimulate our youth and make technology more attractive.”