South Africa: EduC8 using cinemas to strengthens matric mathematics and science

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EduC8, a partnership with 8ta, BHP Billiton, Primestars, the Department of Basic Education and Samsung, will again address any gaps that may exist in Grade 12 learners' studying and learning maths and science to increase the number of those who excel in the subjects by the end of the academic year.

Launched in July last year, it targeted learners from disadvantaged backgrounds across the country. One of its successes is last year's participant Zanele Khumalo (18), who attended the revision sessions at Maponya Mall in Soweto. She is now on her way to Cuba on a scholarship to study medicine.

"We all acknowledge that maths and science education is the foundation for many of the jobs needed to develop the country's infrastructure and therefore our economy's growth. Increasingly these subjects are a critical component of getting ahead and company is proud to be part of this student initiative which sees government and the private sector working closely towards a common goal," says Amith Maharaj, senior managing executive of Telkom Mobile.

"If we are to transform this nation, pushing it to greater heights than ever before, giving all who live here equal opportunities to grow and succeed, we need to start at a grassroots level with skills development and education. We need to change the lives and experiences of the youth for the better. The group believes in resourcing the future and part of resourcing the future lies in recognising that our people are our greatest resource. We are nothing without talented, skilled employees. The children empowered by the EduC8 Matric Revision will be those talented, skilled employees, given the opportunity. We need to recognise that the future begins with the children of South Africa and that that future begins now," says BHP Billiton chairman, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi.

Each revision session of EduC8 will be filmed at a single venue and simultaneously broadcast to a network of 15 digitised Ster-Kinekor theatres across the country. The revision sessions will run every Sunday from 22 July to 23 September 2012. These will be presented in an educational and yet entertaining manner, allowing learners to interact with subject experts who will be available at each cinema complex to assist with questions and answers from the pupils.

This year, it will reach three additional areas - Witbank, Richards Bay and Kuruman - as part of the project's commitment to being as widely accessible as possible, and giving equal opportunities to all disadvantaged learners. Special allowance will once again be made for learners who will not be able to attend the revision sessions due to their geographical locations.

The Sasol Inzalo Foundation (SaIF) and the national bursary organisation Studietrust will again cooperate with the initiative by reserving at least five full-cost bursaries for qualifying applicants who attended the programme.

The vision of the foundation is to be a significant contributor to sustainable economic growth in South Africa by focusing on skills development in engineering and science, through various programmes, including a bursary programme that started in 2010. The main criteria for the selection of applicants are academic potential and financial need. Each programme workbook made available to participants contains a SaIF bursary application form with information on selection criteria and the application procedure. The closing date for 2013 applications is 30 September 2012.