Just as Walter Sisulu had guided a young Madiba, WSU has also been entrusted as a custodian of the Mandela School of Science and Technology that was recently handed over to the community of Mvezo.
The WSU Faculty of Education in collaboration with Siemens will match the high tech facilities of the Mandela School of Science and Technology with highbrow teaching methods and curricula through teacher development programmes carried out by WSU. Amongst South Africa’s most successful teacher training universities, Walter Sisulu University has a number of teacher-outreach programmes in the Eastern Cape.
Mandela School of Science and Technology maths teacher, Lukholo Raxangana said the training and workshops have been very productive and quite a boost in their teaching confidence.
“It’s been a great help especially to us who have just graduated from University. We will now be better able to apply what we were taught at university,” said Lukholo.
WSU is one of four science competence centres in South Africa working with Siemens and Experimento to empower maths and science educators at the Mandela School and twenty other teachers from various schools
in the Eastern Cape.
“Our programme is named ‘Experimento’ and it is an international teacher programme. It is necessary to empower teachers all over the world. A teacher is the key. If you have a passionate and empowered teacher, then he can better give and share his knowledge with the students,” said Science & Technology Education, Global Alliance of Siemens Foundations’, Rebecca Ottmann.
In addition, Rebecca concluded by saying “It doesn’t matter what background you come from, if you have the opportunity you can become anything, even the president. This is why we want to go to rural areas to empower together with WSU the teachers and learners,” she said.
Dr Prince Jaca, who is the coordinator of the project, said this was a breakthrough for the province. "This will assist in that these children will not be surprised when required to work at science labs at tertiary level because they will be used to it."
Jaca also called on other faculties such as engineering and chemistry to visit the school and assist in any way they can.
“I’m a mathematician, but I’m also passionate about education development. It would really help if other academic staff with doctorates in the various faculties pitched in to assist. This would really motivate the students because they are being taught by doctors,” said Jaca.
WSU’s partnership with Siemens follows the signing of a twinning Memorandum of Understanding in August, 2013 that will see WSU fostering “science competency centres” in the Eastern Cape.