Science, maths pupils benefit from Saturday school

2008-06-03 00:00

Science and maths pupils in Pietermaritzburg schools are benefiting from a nationwide project aimed at helping students from poor backgrounds to improve their performance so that they can enter engineering careers.

The Saturday School Initiative (SSI) is the initiative of a Johannesburg-based engineering company. The project started in January, and its classes are running at Sukuma Comprehensive School in Imbali. It was officially launched at the school on Saturday.

The Greater Edendale high schools whose top performing pupils are benefiting from the initiative are Fundokuhle, Mehlokazulu, Sukuma and Edendale Technical High.

SSI spokesman Robin Hayes said that the initiative is a response to an appeal a few years ago by South Africa’s Deputy President, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

He said she called on businesses to contribute to uplifting the education in poor schools during a mini business summit in Gauteng.

“Our CEO, Naren Bhojaram, was at the summit and he came up with the idea of starting Saturday lessons.

“The lessons were first held in our head office in Johannesburg in 2007, and we only targeted two schools from Alexandra and Kagiso townships.

“A year later we received fantastic results because our pupils received distinctions for their matric results and are now in universities.”

Hayes said that since then SSI has expanded the classes in all four of its main branches, including Pietermaritzburg.

His company also offers bursaries at tertiary level.

Sukuma School principal Dumisani Hlongwane praised the project, saying that pupils benefit without having to pay to attend the classes.

He said he hopes enrolment for the project will soon increase.

The chief executive of the company sponsoring Saturday School Initiative, Naren Bhojaram, with maths and science pupils during the launch of the SSI at Sukuma Comprehen-sive School on Saturday.

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