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Mandela School of Science & Technology – Photo Story 5: Foundation for success

In this photo series, we want to familiarize you with the Mandela School of Science & Technology. In the process of being built, the project is one of South Africa’s most ambitious corporate social responsibility projects as well as one of Siemens’ biggest social investments to date. The Mandela School of Science & Technology is located in Mvezo, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. It embodies Mandela’s belief that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

On a regular basis, we will provide you with pictures depicting different topics of the project. In the fifth part of this series, we will take a look at the foundation for success of the Mandela School of Science & Technology.

The Mandela School of Science & Technology strives to provide a nurturing educational environment where pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to acquire knowledge, develop their skills and have an equal opportunity to build the sustainable future of South Africa, and the world. That’s the mission of the school. A first step to achieving this is providing next year’s students with a school uniform that they can wear with pride.

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The vision of the Mandela School of Science & Technology is to educate the next generation of South African leaders who are going to change the world. This opportunity is a very unique one for children in Mvezo, a beautiful but poor area in the Eastern Cape, where the aloe plant is at home. The colours of this plant, green and orange, are reflected in the school uniform.

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Courage, curiosity, compassion and service are the values of the Mandela School of Science & Technology.
Courage: Students act bravely and ethically for the greater good of society and must have the courage to stand for what is right.
Curiosity: Students must have inquiring minds, must be open to knowledge and new ideas from the world around them in order to change it for the better. They must demonstrate a positive attitude towards learning, respect their teachers and have discipline at school.
Compassion: Students must show compassion towards all people from different cultural and social backgrounds. They must have respect for humanity and the environment.
Service: Students must have a passion to serve the community and develop a lifelong commitment to make the world around them a better place.

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The school emblem was designed by Siemens with input from the local community. It takes the form of a traditional Xhosa shield (with the local flora) split into three parts by a wind turbine. The top section represents the village of Mvezo, the left and right sections highlight the science and technology focus of the school.
The school motto developed by local community members is: Education is Freedom. It is inspired by the famous quote of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

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The principal Patuxolo Toni started teaching at a very young age. Specializing in maths, biology and science, as well as history, he taught mostly in rural areas. In 1995, he further received his master’s degree in International Relations and Economics. Toni transformed the nearby Dalindyebo Secondary School from a moderate school into one of the top performing schools in the Eastern Cape, with an 88% pass rate for grade 12 in 2012. Until today, he provides training and mentoring to government officials, school leaders and project teams. With his vast teaching and management experience, Mandela School of Science & Technology has found an extremely qualified and motivated principal.

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