On July 15 2014, ahead of Mandela Day on the 19th, the students and staff of the Mandela School of Science and Technology celebrated six months since the high school opened its doors. The celebrations looked back at the challenges faced by the school during its first semester, announced the launch of the 2014 Greenpower Challenge and the mentorship programme offered to students at the school.
Principal Pat Toni was happy to announce that the overall pass mark had risen by more than 10% in just one term: “At the start of the year many of our learners lacked confidence but have responded extremely well to having structure and systems at school and in their daily lives.
The involvement of the parents and community is invaluable, Toni says. “The community ensures that the learners can return home safely after evening studies. Parents, many of whom did not get a formal education, are getting involved with their children’s education.”
Learners from the Mandela School won awards such as ‘Best speaker at the circuit English language festival’ and ‘Best news reader at circuit level’, and Siemens executive director Rita Nkuhlu said that the progress since the opening has been extraordinary:
“I salute the acting principal Pat Toni, the teachers and the learners for how they have tackled what has essentially been the start-up phase of the new school. Everybody faced up to the challenges and addressed them – that alone is a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela.”
Nkuhlu also announced the mentorship program which has begun at the Mandela School. MSST learners are now able to benefit from the skills and knowledge of global engineering professionals via video calls. The programme was inspired by Siemens employees who attended the 2013 One Young World Summit in Johannesburg and identified the need to expand education and career guidance into rural parts of Africa.
MSST learners on a video call with Siemens engineers from across the globe.
Mentors for the Mandela School program from the One Young World delegation
The last announcement unveiled two Greenpower Challenge car kits for the electrical engineering teams at MSST to build, race, and compete in against learners from all over the world. Their journey took them all the way from Mvezo to Goodwood, and you can read more about it here.