Innovative tutoring project
Before it was acquired by ACTOM early last year, the Savcio group launched and successfully implemented an innovative tutoring project aimed at boosting Science and Maths teaching in selected high schools in Ekurhuleni.
Nene Mathebula, who launched the project in 2008 when he was the group’s Executive Director, Energy, said: “The East Rand was the labour pool for most of the group’s companies – as it is for ACTOM as well – so we selected schools serving previously disadvantaged communities in the area, the aim being to improve the basic Science and Maths education of youngsters who could potentially be employed by us in the future.
“But besides any direct benefits the group may gain from it, the project also has the wider objective of uplifting these communities, as it forms part of the group’s social responsibility programme.”
Nene left the group at the end of last year to establish his own corporate consultancy, but continues to manage the project. The schools involved are Buhlebuzile High School in Thokoza and Erasmus Monareng High School and Thuto Lesedi High School in Vosloorus.
A group of postgraduate Science students from various universities around the country were recruited to tutor the Grade 11 and 12 learners at these schools in Science and Maths, while at the same time providing mentorship where required to the teachers of these subjects. The project is directly managed by one of the senior student tutors, Nontobeko Soyamba, who has been involved with it since inception.
“We also provided the schools with computers, laboratory equipment and other accessories they required to ensure that the subjects could be taught as effectively as possible,” Nene said.
“In addition to being paid nominal salaries for their work, the tutors are paid incentive bonuses for distinctions achieved by learners in their Grade 12 classes. The teachers participating in the project are also paid bonuses for distinctions in Grade 12.”
The results speak for themselves. In 2010 the three schools between them attained 20 A and B symbols in the two subjects in Grades 11 and 12, compared with a total of 15 A’s and B’s in the previous two years combined. Further improvements followed in 2011 and 2012, with A and B symbols in these grades rising to 35 and 30 respectively.
“Not surprisingly, these excellent results have attracted many more applications by learners in Katlehong, Thokoza and Vosloorus to enrol at these schools. However this tends to put a strain on their resources due to overcrowding,” Nene added.
ACTOM – along with other industrial companies operating on the East Rand – will continue providing study bursaries for top students benefitting from the tutoring project. “To date we have provided bursaries for three students from these schools to study for various engineering degrees. More than 20 students from the programme are studying in technical and science fields at leading universities in the country,” Nene concluded.