Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Enver Surty, attended the launch of a mobile laboratory initiative at Shixini Village, in the Eastern Cape, on 27 August 2012.
The initiative is a result of the Delivery Agreement, signed by the Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga, on 29 October 2010, which stipulates the activities to be undertaken to produce the mutually agreed-upon outputs, which in turn contribute to achieving outcome 1: Improved quality of Basic Education.
After realising that the Shixini Village schools were faced with a shortage of equipment for maths and science, local Chief Ngwenyati Dumilisile from the Jingqi Traditional Council, approached the Department of Science and Technology (DST) for help.
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor, said that the necessary equipment should be provided to learners if they are expected to excel in Maths and Science. The Department of Science and Technology, through its Science and Youth unit, handed over eight (8) mobile laboratories and 1600 scientific calculators to assist with science lessons. Each of these trolleys is equipped with apparatus and other relevant items that will enable the schools to access 64 physical science experiments.
Minister Pandor confirmed that she knows about the shortage of skilled teachers for subjects such as Mathematics, Biology and Physics at the schools requiring assistance. “My department has therefore had discussions with non-governmental organisations such as TeachSA, who are keen to assist the schools in the area by providing teachers in these gateway subjects”, she added.
Addressing local learners, Basic Education Deputy Minister Surty echoed the sentiments of the Science and Technology minister and emphasised that Maths and Science are some of the most important subject streams in South Africa, especially for those learners who want to study towards careers such as engineering, medical studies and architecture, amongst others.
Deputy Minister Surty told the community that the Department of Basic Education in conjunction with the DST, will ensure that the schools in the Eastern Cape have well-trained Maths and Science teachers to promote these subjects in schools. According to the Deputy Minister every public school has to be part of the Dinaledi Schools Programme to increase access to Maths and Science in underprivileged schools.
“Education is the only means to break through the circle of poverty,” Deputy Minister Surty said, adding that learners should not perceive Maths and Science as difficult subjects. He indicated that learners will ultimately find these subjects easier and interesting if they can change their attitude towards Maths and Science.
The community were also reminded that Annual National Assessments (ANA) for Grades 1-6 and 9 learners will take place during September 2012. ANA will assist the Department to explore the strength and weaknesses of each learner in terms of Literacy and Numeracy. Thus, the Deputy Minister encouraged parents to support their children to do their homework and make every effort to learn how to read, write and count. The call was also made to all education stakeholders to unite in improving quality education for all South African learners.
Images from the event: