20 January 2014
Madiba’s dream of a secondary school at his birthplace of Mvezo in the Eastern Cape was finally realised with the official opening of the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology on Friday.
The R100-million school, built in partnership by German engineering company Siemens, the Mvezo Development Trust, the community of Mvezo and South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, will enable 700 learners from about 24 feeder primary schools to study engineering, science, technology and agriculture.
Speaking at the opening of the school, President Jacob Zuma said, “Madiba had to travel far to obtain secondary education because there was no secondary school in this area. Siemens has ensured that the children of Mvezo receive a state-of-the-art science and technology school.”
Zuma said Mandela was passionate about education and the plight of children, as they were the future of the country.
“That is why he was always raising funds to build a school in the country, particularly among the most disadvantaged communities. This is a legacy that should be continued.”
Although there was an improvement in the country’s matric results, particularly in maths and science in 2013, Zuma said there was still a long way to go to getting learners to take a real interest in the subjects.
“Societies advance through science and technology, and our country should not be left behind. We should make science and technology a joy for our learners.”
Zuma urged the school’s new learners to use the opportunity and build a bright future for themselves.
“The Mandela School of Science and Technology must be a training ground for the leaders of tomorrow. We want you to produce leaders in various fields, in honour of the distinguished man after whom the school is named.”
The school is part of the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, an R8.2-billion public-private initiative which aims to eradicate the 496 “mud schools” in the country, and provide water and sanitation to 1 257 schools and electricity to 878 schools by March 2016.