Project takes flight

2018-11-06 06:01
From left are Tapie Marlie, Saul Berman, Debbie Schäfer, Jan de Waal and Ben Thompson during the launch. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

From left are Tapie Marlie, Saul Berman, Debbie Schäfer, Jan de Waal and Ben Thompson during the launch. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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Wynberg Boys’ High School launched a multi-million rand proposed Engineering and Design Faculty on Thursday 1 November.

This is in an attempt to curb the shortage of and promote the importance of technical training in educational institutions.

The proposal has been in the pipeline for about a year and the groundbreaking facility is expected to open in 2020. This additional facility will comprise of civil and electrical subjects. Learners taking on this new venture will be expected to study these subjects along with Mathematics and Physical Science and other core subjects. The programme will be offered from Grade 10
upwards.

However, all depends on the availability of the much-needed funds to make the construction work possible. The budget for this is R40.9m.

Principal Jan de Waal says this will not be possible without the support of local entrepreneurs and other stakeholders. He is appealing for donations towards the project. He says donors will be able to donate towards three different courses, all aimed at making this a reality.

Options include helping the school raise once-off capital of R40.9m which will basically go towards construction, or another once-off R1.5m for furniture and necessary equipment and lastly, an ongoing R90 000 learner sponsorship.

Dillon Sibanda, a school prefect, says learners welcome the idea as it would equip future learners with skills they can use in a world where there is an increasing need for technical skills.

Vice-principal Ben Thompson says the school is a high-functioning institution and is among the top performing schools in the country, coming in fifth position in the province last year, and they are always striving to do better.

He said they have been insisting on instilling a culture of technology through learning and teaching.

“For the past six years every boy coming into our school had to have a laptop and we have Wi-Fi. So while we insist on embracing technology in education, we made a decision to recognise the interest to contribute meaningfully to South African education. So the Engineering and Design Faculty is the next chapter in the school.”

Debbie Schäfer, the provincial minister for education, welcomed the proposal.

She said technical education was previously stigmatised and was seen as the last option if a student could not do anything else, and that the new faculty would help break that stigma while producing much-needed skilled workers. She encouraged stakeholders to partner with the school and make this plan a success.

The project already has the backing of a local business. The school is working closely with the Berman Brothers’ Foundation which assisted with the designs. Saul Berman of the foundation announced their pledge of R1m towards the construction work.

He said they are ready to start the work as soon as the funds are available and they will continue working closely with the school even after the completion of construction, by providing practical experience and mentorship programmes for the learners.

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