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Change the world

23/08/2023

It was an all over celebration for learners, educators and principals, sponsors, and University staff, when STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics) in ACTION, on Missionvale Campus invited their stakeholders to a recent event, showcasing their activities.

From left, Isabel van Gend (Manager STEM in ACTION), Colleen Lemmetjies (SANRAL), Mzwake Festile (Senior Education Specialist Department of Basic Education), Sharon Masiza Senior Director, Missionvale, Second Avenue and Bird Street campuses, Dr Cobus van Breda (University of the Free State), Rhona Erasmus (SANRAL), Andrew van Groening (SANRAL), Dr Muki Moeng (Mandela University’s DVC Learning and Teaching), Amaria Reynders (University of the Free State) and Tarin Roberts (STEM in ACTION).

Learners from various schools also presented their STEM in ACTION experiences on stage. These were Grade 3 learners from Despatch Preparatory School, Grade 9 learners from Strelitzia and Paterson High Schools and Grade 10 to 12 learners from Ethembeni Enrichment Centre. Learners involved in the programming intervention presented a video representing their skills.

Ethembeni Enrichment Centre Grade 10-12 learners expressed what the Selected School Project meant to them in the form of a Pop-up Poem, written by the learners and the artistic flair was added by their Creative Arts educator Ms Zuma.

Grade 3 learners from Despatch Preparatory School creatively put together a rhyming poem expressing what Family Maths means to them, their school, and their families. Their Grade 3 Maths educator Chanté Swanepoel, helped to write and direct this creative expression.

Grade 9 learners from Paterson High School expressed what the Getting Ahead in Technology and Engineering programme means to them. Together with Ms Maaka and Mr Xuba, their Natural Science educators, they wrote and directed this role play and did an amazing job in their expression.

STEM in ACTION , located in Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and IT, under Mechanical Engineering and the AMTC, has been improving learners’ experiences of science since 2010 with 14 schools (250 learners) in Nelson Mandela Bay and has grown substantially to 73 schools in 2022 and almost 20 000 learners.

Schools in Makhanda, Port Alfred, Jeffreys Bay and Humansdorp, also participate in the programmes now. 

Initially the programme started off with enriched tuition to enhance the performance of science achievers in Grades 10 to 12, with hands-on science experiments and extra technology inputs. They also supported under-resourced science classes (Grades 10 to 12), needing laboratories for their physical science experiments.

These schools are selected on their potential to excel in Physical Science teaching and learning, and educators and learners have the opportunity to experience a well-resourced laboratory environment first hand.

These programmes are still ongoing, but teaching and learning material is now also available to assist educators, parents, and younger learners, showing alternative ways of teaching abstract subjects.

In addition, parent workshops, using the learner teaching and learning materials, show parents the teaching methods to assist learners at home. These numbers started off with 118 parents in 2010 and 1673 parents have participated in 2022.

“Your commitment to education is inspiring, and the hands-on community engagement has unlocked many doors to possibilities”, said Professor Marshall Sheldon, Executive Dean of Engineering, herself a Chemical Engineer.  She inspired women, principals, and educators, to enable learners to become future leaders. Prof Sheldon also thanked SANRAL, the sponsor of STEM in ACTION for the past 14 years.

At a time when unemployment is critical, 55 out of the 100 critical skills needed in the country, require a background in science and mathematics, STEM in Action manager Isabel van Gend said.

In partnership with the University of the Free State’s Science for the Future programme, STEM in ACTION presents educator and family mathematics, as well as Natural Science programmes.

In addition, STEM in ACTION’s holiday programmes prepare learners with engineering and programming skills, as part of their career exploration initiative.

Learner meetings with STEM professionals and their workplaces are facilitated to empower learners to make informed decisions about future STEM careers.

See more about STEM in ACTION

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160
elma.dekoker@mandela.ac.za