World-class high school to open in Mandela’s birthplace

  • R100m Mandela School of Science & Technology being built by Siemens in Mandela’s birthplace
  • It is the first high school in Mvezo with capacity for 700 learners
  • The school is being developed according to Siemens’ sustainability principles.

Leave home or drop out of school. This is a choice many learners in Mvezo will no longer have to make when the Mandela School of Science & Technology opens its doors in January next year.

One of South Africa’s most ambitious corporate social responsibility projects, the school is in the Mvezo village, birthplace of former South African president and international statesman Nkosi Dalibhunga Mandela.

It is being built by global engineering firm Siemens at a cost of R100m in collabora-tion with the Mvezo Development Trust and the community of Mvezo together with the Department of Education and the Department of Science and Technology.

The Mandela School of Science & Technology is one of Siemens’ biggest ever social investments, and is the first high school in Mvezo. It is the fulfillment of Mandela’s dream of building a high school in the village of his birth, which he expressed in a meeting with Peter Loescher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, in 2010. The project embodies Mandela’s belief that ‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.

The school’s motto will be “Education is Freedom.”

Construction of the double-storey 25-classroom school, with a capacity for 700 learners, is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013.

“Siemens recognises its role in the transformation of South Africa, and building a world-class school in a rural area where none exists is an enormously important and rewarding project,” says Siemens Africa’s Chief Executive Siegmar Proebstl.

As part of its investment and commitment to the success of the school, Siemens will contribute towards the school’s operational and maintenance costs for three years.

The school will start with Grades 8-10 in 2014, and will be at full capacity by 2016 with students in Grades 8-12. It will follow the national curriculum. Four sets of specialised subject streams have been identified to allow learners to focus on engineering, science, technology or agriculture in their last phase of schooling (Grades 10-12).

Siemens is also enabling the school to benefit from cooperation agreements with other schools and science education networks internationally.

Building started in October 2012 and has already benefited the local community, who have been trained in building skills and employed on the project site.

The school is being developed according to Siemens’ sustainability principles. It features wind and solar energy, energy efficient lighting, automation systems, rainwater capture and water filtration technologies. “We are setting an example in environmental responsibility,” Proebstl says.

Learners will be drawn from up to 22 feeder schools in the area. “This contribution by Siemens of the new Mandela School of Science & Technology is easily the most significant investment in education that this area has ever seen,” says the Head of the Royal House of Mandela and Head of the Mvezo Traditional Council Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, who is an ANC MP and grandson of the former president Dalibhunga Mandela. “This is the type of initiative which can change the lives of this community forever.”

The new school is being promoted to parents, teachers and learners in the areas around Mvezo, with road shows to promote the school and explain entry requirements.

The school has been welcomed by the Department of Education. “We need more companies like Siemens to work with us so young learners can build study paths and careers in science, engineering, technology and related fields,” says Nosipho Skenjana, Chief Directorate: Institutional Management, Development and Govern-ance at the Eastern Cape Department of Education.

Contact for journalists:
José Machado
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Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the fields of industry, energy and healthcare as well as providing infrastructure solutions, primarily for cities and metro-politan areas. For over 165 years, Siemens has stood for technological excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. The company is the world’s largest provider of environmental technologies. Around 40 percent of its total revenue stems from green products and solutions. In fiscal 2012, which ended on September 30, 2012, reve-nue from continuing operations totaled €78.3 billion and income from continuing operations €5.2 billion. At the end of September 2012, Siemens had around 370,000 employees worldwide on the basis of continuing operations. Further information is available on the Internet at: