5 April 2006
South Africa’s business sector has pledged to support schools dedicated to improving mathematics and science education in the country.
Education Minister Naledi Pandor, meeting with business representatives in Johannesburg on Tuesday, called on the private sector to “adopt” the 400 Dinaledi schools in the country, saying their involvement would yield positive results.
The schools were formed in 2001 to improve participation and performance in maths and science, particularly among previously disadvantaged learners.
Old Mutual, the Shuttleworth Foundation, the National Business Initiative, the South African Sugar Association and Prudential Portfolio were among the companies and organisations represented at the meeting.
Speaking after the meeting, Penny Vinjevold, deputy director-general for further education and training in the Department of Education, said business had shown interest in supporting the initiative, and had also made suggestions on improving it.
“We have given them three weeks to come back to us regarding their pledges,” Vinjevold said.
Prudential Portfolio’s Doc Sithole said the initiative would translate into highly knowledgeable human capital.
“Our heart lies with the education of this country,” Sithole said. “If we do not do anything to improve it, no one will do it for us.”
Khosi Xulu of Black Science, Technology and Engineering Professionals said the initiative needed support if South Africa was to build the scarce skills it needed for faster economic growth.
“It is a brilliant idea, and really promises to produce a pool of black science professionals,” Xulu said.