In a move to assist schools in the Uitenhage-Despatch region with improving their pass rate, the Uitenhage Despatch Development Initiative (UDDI) has committed to intensifying its curriculum support programmes it offers to maths and science learners in the Metro.
UDDI Chief Executive Officer Patricia Dlamini made this pledge at Zanolwazi Secondary School in Khayamnandi, Despatch, as the organisation formed part of the delegation which visited eight schools in the metro. Led by Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Musualle and Executive Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Danny Jordaan, the visits aimed to tackle a range of challenges that hinder the performance of schools.
As a result, several working committees comprising the various schools’ governing bodies, the EC Office of the Premier, the regional Department of Education, parents of learners in target schools, and the UDDI were initiated to assist targeted schools towards reaching optimal performance.
To show its commitment to providing leadership and development services for improving education and skills development within Uitenhage, Despatch, and the broader Nelson Mandela Bay area, a team of 8 science communicators which form part of the UDDI managed Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre are gearing to roll out outreach programmes across 36 schools in the Metro.
“We encourage schools to visit and participate in our science centre programmes. Considering the EC received the lowest 2015 matric pass rate, we believe our package of in-house and outreach support programmes intended to assist learners in the STEM disciplines [science, technology, engineering and maths] will be beneficial for improving performance in 2016,” explained Dlamini.
“The appointment of science communicators is a result of a partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DST) entity, the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA). Through DST’s ongoing financial injection, we are able to employ graduates in the STEM disciplines to facilitate programmes targeting learners from grades 4 to 12,” Dlamini said.
Besides curriculum development support programmes, the UDDI encourages schools to visit the science centre as it showcases a range of interactive exhibits which include an energy saving exhibit donated by Eskom and an energy tunnel on consignment from the Cape Town Science Centre. The centre also hosts educator workshops aimed at assisting teachers in constructing vibrant lessons that keep learners’ interest and improve performance in these subjects.
UDDI’s mandate calls for effective socio-economic change through multi-sector development instruments which focus mainly on three operational areas, namely: enterprise development, education and skills development, as well as developmental projects.