Academy to develop skills

2018-06-06 06:01
The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy at the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State campus in Bloemfontein, was unveiled on Wednesday (30/05). From the left are Prof. Henk de Jager (vice-chancellor and principal), Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, Tate Makgoe (MEC for Education) and Palesa Loapo (Gr. 11 learner, Commtech Comprehensive School). Photo: Supplied

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy at the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State campus in Bloemfontein, was unveiled on Wednesday (30/05). From the left are Prof. Henk de Jager (vice-chancellor and principal), Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, Tate Makgoe (MEC for Education) and Palesa Loapo (Gr. 11 learner, Commtech Comprehensive School). Photo: Supplied

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The Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State campus in Bloemfontein, is envisaged to become a catalyst for advancing the development of much-needed science, engineering and mathematics skills in South Africa.

This followed the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) Academy launch on Wednesday (30/05), which is a partnership between CUT, the Free State government, the University of the Free State (UFS) and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

Dan Maritz, CUT spokesperson, said R2 million has been invested in the project. He said the initiative is expected to soon go ahead full steam, with the Faculty of Engineering at the institution as the main drivers. Maritz said there were already classes offered on Saturdays to prepare for when the academy will be fully operational.

He said the academy is a culmination of a series of engagements held since 2013 between CUT, TVET colleges and the department.

“Focus was on the development of sustainable collaborative initiatives that are directed towards the overall growth and development of the province in the field of academic excellence.

“CUT is the foremost higher education institution in the heartland of South Africa, dedicated to quality education and training in science, techno­logy, engineering and mathematics.

“CUT continues to contri­bute to the improvement of quality education in schools, consequently making a positive impact in the socio-economic development of the region,” said Maritz.

He said the academy is envisaged to be a training and developmental hub for professional teachers and lecturers to improve content knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in schools, colleges and universities.

“The main objective is to expose learners and students to modern Stem laboratories and support existing initiatives such as the Math-for-All Campaign,” said Maritz.

Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela said the academy would be a key national strategic player in the natio­nal and international development.

“This will promote sustainable growth and development of the Free State and the province will take the lead in the education and training sector through this academy.

“The academy is going to put the province at the centre of the fourth industrial revolution, promoting increase access to Mathematics and Science education in line with goals of the national development plan.”

Prof. Henk de Jager, vice-chancellor and principal of CUT, said: “The academy would remain a hub for development in training educators and lecturers in the field of science, engineering and mathematics and expose learners to the various fields in the Stem area. Through this partnership, we will make an impact on our learners and education in the province.”

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