Maths, Science and Technology project underscores the Company’s commitment to the development of the South African economy and people.
Midrand. BMW South Africa celebrates the tenth anniversary of its BMW Excellence Project in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) in 2010. The programme encourages young learners to pursue careers in the field of science and technology, while at the same time addressing the skills gap that exists in the country in this critical field.
The initiative has grown from a small initial base and now supports almost 50 under-privileged schools in Midrand, Rosslyn and Soweto, and recently expanded to five schools in the Western Cape.
Using mobile laboratories, which are procured with BMW funding, teachers are empowered to teach science and maths in both a theoretical and practical manner enabling the learners to excel within these subjects. This strategy on MST education has been developed in order to maintain a learning culture and momentum throughout the learners’ school career and the programme thus adopts a high school with two feeder primary schools
“At BMW we don’t believe in handouts. Instead, we rather invest in ways to help communities help themselves. This is what the BMW Excellence Project in Maths, Science and Technology is all about. We give learners the tools they need to uplift themselves and forge their own paths for the future,” says Guy Kilfoil, General Manager: Group Communications & Public Affairs at BMW SA.
The annual BMW MST Awards ceremony, which took place at the end of May, highlighted the ongoing success of the programme with a growing number of learners excelling in the given subjects.
An expansion to the programme was announced giving learners even greater incentive to excel at their studies. This year’s matriculants will for the first time have the opportunity to apply for one of ten bursaries being offered by BMW South Africa within a mathematics or science field. Once graduated, the bursars will be offered a position within BMW’s Graduate Trainee Programme and therefore will have the opportunity to gain invaluable work experience at BMW South Africa over a two year period. Of course, the opportunity for full-time employment with the company exists thereafter.
This year’s awards event was hosted at the South African Airforce Museum at Kranskop Airforce Base. The learners enjoyed a tour of the museum and were offered unique insights into the opportunities that exist both within the South African Airforce and the aviation industry in general.
A select group of learners were treated to an unforgettable flight through the skies of Pretoria in an Airforce chopper, while the pilots stressed the importance of attaining strong marks in maths and science in order to pursue a career in aviation.
The previous Minister of Science and Technology and patron of the MST Programme, Mr. Mosibudi Mangena, presented the learners with their certificates of excellence. He addressed the learners encouraging them to escape their current circumstances through education. Having come from an impoverished back ground himself Mr. Mangena stressed how he was able to change his future, and that of his children and their children, by studying and working hard to attain his goals.
The efforts of BMW South Africa are clearly paying dividends in this regard as many of the learners who have passed through the project are entering the working world in the fields of engineering, accountancy and computer science.
“We’re proud to see so many of these young students changing their circumstances and entering careers in engineering, science and other related fields. Through their hard work and dedication they will not only change their lives but those of their families,” concludes Kilfoil. “At the same time, they will uplift the South African economy and underscore BMW South Africa’s long term commitment to the ongoing development of South Africa.”
However, it was Prudence Makhubela, a learner from Engenisweni High School, who summed up the goals of the programme with one succinct quote; “As I rise, I raise others with me.”