Following its successful launch in 2016, The FUCHS Foundation Trust will again sponsor the grade 9 Mathematics Foundational Skills Programme in Tembisa.
The project’s goal is to increase the pool of candidates available for STEM-related (science, technology and mathematics) careers. The project targets learners who achieve “borderline” results and are at risk of dropping maths as a subject after grade 9. These learners are provided with supplementary classes through Star Schools to equip them with essential foundational skills required to pursue further studies in mathematics.
Nine schools in Tembisa were the beneficiaries of the 2016 programme with 230 learners participating. The schools were Thuto ke matla, Inqayivivele, Zitikeni, Bokamoso, Tembisa, Boitumelong, Masiqhakaze, Mazisebenze and Ikusasa Comprehensive School.
The project was well received by the department of education, the schools, learners and parents who see it as a valuable and relevant intervention given the challenges learners face.
Solly Mogabudi, Department of Education, said: “The project is in line with both the Department of Education and the National Planning Commissions’ target to increase the number of learners eligible to study maths, science and technology-related subjects post-school, which is crucial for our economy.”
Wilhemina Hlahla, a maths educator, commented: “The attendance and participation of the learners was very good. I believe this was due to the value they saw in the project. Also, for a change, this project was not about the best learners, but gave a chance to other learners and presented them with an opportunity that could be life changing. It was great to see the improvement learners’ confidence as they went through the programme.”
“I think this is what made the project special. On the downside, however, the programme highlighted that the average learner lacks the basics and does not have a proper foundation in mathematics,” she said.
The top achieving learner, Racheal Nyilika was elated: “I can hardly believe that I got 76% for my final exams. I got 27% in the June exam. I used to think maths was so tough, I don’t know if I would have continued with maths had I did not attend this programme.”
The 2016 project saw a significant improvement in learner performance in terms of pre- and post-intervention assessments as well as in the final examination results. A further encouraging fact was that 97% of the participants not only passed their final examination, but also chose to continue studying maths post grade 9.
“This is the kind of result we were hoping for. We are encouraged and are looking forward to continuing with the programme. This is in line with our objective to implement programmes that will improve the economic prospects of marginalised individuals,” said Esther Seabi, general manager of the FUCHS Foundation Trust.
Paul Deppe, MD of FUCHS LUBRICANTS SA and a trustee of the FUCHS Foundation Trust, explained why the trust was founded: “The FUCHS Foundation was created to facilitate black economic empowerment. The Trust is a shareholder in FUCHS LUBRICANTS SA (holding 25.1% of the shares) and uses its income to support initiatives aimed at facilitating access to economic opportunities. We believe that creating an opportunity for these learners to study maths post grade 9 will have a positive impact on their career prospects.”
The trust was supported through a donation by FUCHS LUBRICANTS SA, a subsidiary of FUCHS PETROLUB SE, which is a global group with German roots that has developed, produced and distributed lubricants and related specialty products for more than 85 years – covering virtually all areas of application and sectors. With about 60 companies and almost 5,000 employees worldwide, the FUCHS Group is the leading independent supplier of lubricants.
FUCHS PETROLUB SE says it is committed to playing a meaningful role in South Africa, both from a business and a social responsibility perspective. Lucas Haass, finance executive of FUCHS LUBRICANTS SA, said that FUCHS LUBRICANTS SA is proud of the project and believes it will have a positive impact on the Tembisa community.
“We are based in Isando and the Tembisa community is one of our neighbouring communities and we have a significant number staff members that come from there. It is our policy to uplift neighbouring communities and that is why we chose to support this project.”