Former lecturer for education studies at the University of Fort Hare and now education consultant Velile Mpikashe has slammed those criticising the standards of education for failing to provide solutions.
Mpikashe was speaking at an awards ceremony at the University of Fort Hare’s East London campus on Saturday. The awards were to recognise the achievement of students in the Engen Maths and Science Schools (EMSS) programme. EMSS is an initiative that aims to assist pupils who show potential and interest in the maths and science fields with extra tuition and potentially qualify for further education and training as well as skilled employment.
Mpikashe, a former principal at Sinikiwe Senior Secondary School in Mdantsane, thanked Engen for “not criticising the education system for poor results but intervening where they are needed most – in maths and science”.
“Criticism is part of democracy. But I am just disappointed to see many organisations, mainly private, criticising without providing solutions.
“The thing is that many of these organisations are in need of these students for employment,” said Mpikashe.
“We need more intervention than critics. Our children need support to excel than to be demoralised by criticism. I thank Engen for its intervention.”
Khanyisa Balfour, manager of corporate social investment at Engen, said: “Engen is delighted to have given so many bright young people the chance to pursue dreams of working in the maths and science fields. We are proud of the class of 2012.”
Balfour said the programme, which started in 2008, involves students from Cala, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay. The students attend classes and are transported free of charge courtesy of the provincial department of transport.
“In all these areas, we had featured mostly rural and township schools. This is because our footprint is based in rural areas,” Balfour said, adding they had set aside R3m for the Eastern Cape programme.
Sinawo Mngoma, from Nyameko High School in Mdantsane, is one of the programme’s beneficiaries.
She passed maths with distinction last year and has enrolled for pharmacy at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She said: “This programme has helped me pass mathematics and physical science.”