Bright sparks shine at Promaths Awards

Pictures: Vanessa Alva and thais
ackerman

The Avenue at the Waterfront played host to a special ceremony last week, when some of the province’s brightest pupils were recognised at the regional Promaths Awards prizegiving.

A total of 37 principals from Philippi Promaths feeder schools were invited to attend the ceremony.

Investec’s CSI division and Kutlwanong Maths, Science and Technology Centre joined forces to start Promaths, a programme that provides extra tuition in maths and science to pupils Grades 10 to 12. Kutlwanong is a non-profit organisation that helps improve maths and science performance in rural areas and townships.

Setlogane Manchidi, the head of Investec’s CSI division, said the programme played an active role in the pupils’ education.

“It’s a massive operation but we participate in the career pathing (and) we join them at parent meetings to inspire the parents to support,” Mr Manchidi said.

When Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga released the results for the class of 2016 in January, the national maths pass rate was 51.1% while the physical science pass rate was 65%.

At last week’s awards ceremony, it was announced that 83% of Promaths pupils had attained a Bachelor’s pass while 12% earned a diploma pass. A total of 99% of them passed maths and 98% passed physical science.

Luthando Theme from Sinethemba High School in Philippi joined the programme in 2014 through his principal’s recommendation because he needed to improve his maths and physical science scores.

“I remember for the first test that I wrote I got 13 out of 65 so I needed to improve,” Luthando said.

He was recognised during the awards ceremony as regional the top achiever.

Luthando was also recognised by his school and district for his high matric scores and will be attending the University of Cape Town to study medicine.

Luthando attributes his accomplishments to Promaths’ extra support.

Mr Manchidi said his center manager used to worry that Luthando would drop out of school but “today he is a top performer,” he said. “This is transformation.”

Mr Manchidi says the accomplishments of Luthando and his peers inspire him and they inspire other pupils in their community.

“They are role models. I mean, in Philippi to hear of so many people studying medicine. These youngsters don’t have to look far, they’re there,” Mr Manchidi said.

Promaths began in 2005 with one centre in Soweto with 100 pupils. Now, Investec funds eight centres and there is a total of 21 national centres funded by other corporations such as Liberty and AVENG.

There are centres in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Free State and the Northern Cape.

Although the awards ceremony is important to acknowledge pupils who have worked hard, Mr Manchidi says it is not the end.

“This is only the beginning. The question I’ll ask you is ‘what did you do with it?’ three years later because that’s what this is about,” Mr Manchidi said.