Engen awards 99 bursaries as Engen Maths & Science School matrics achieve record pass rate

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Engen’s commitment to nurturing talent and fostering educational excellence has shone brightly once again after the 2023 Engen Maths & Science School matric class reported a record 97% overall pass rate.

This exceptional achievement again underscored the transformative impact of the Engen Maths & Science School (EMSS) programme in empowering underprivileged Grade 10-12 learners at its 10 EMSS centres spread across South Africa.

Since inception in 1987, the EMSS programme has been the cornerstone of Engen’s commitment to societal transformation, today offering over 1,500 leaners annually with vital supplementary tuition.

The 2023 EMSS matric class registered an impressive 77% bachelor pass rate, a notable 5% increase from the previous year, and significantly higher than the national average bachelor pass rate of 41%.

Olwethu Mdabula, Engen’s CSI Manager, says that the 2023 EMSS matric results affirm the pivotal role that the programme plays in bridging educational disparities and equipping talented learners from disadvantaged backgrounds with the necessary tools for success.

“Of the 434 matriculants enrolled in the programme in 2023, 99 deserving learners were awarded full bursaries to pursue their tertiary studies, further illustrating Engen’s commitment to facilitating access to higher education and unlocking opportunities for future leaders,” adds Mdabula.

In further celebration of academic excellence, Engen awarded learners R5 000 for every distinction attained in Mathematics, Science, or English, for a total of R605k dispersed to top matric achievers.

Of the 10 EMSS centres currently operating, four are based in KwaZulu-Natal (at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School, and Umlazi Commercial High School), three are in the Eastern Cape (East London, Cala and Gqeberha), two in the Western Cape (CPUT and Manzomthombo Secondary School), and one in Gauteng at Zakariyya Park Combined School.

Sean Conway, a Physical Science tutor at the EMSS based at Ganges High School, expressed his pride in his students’ accomplishments.

“The 2023 matric results highlighted the impact of the EMSS in nurturing academic talent and facilitating access to higher education,” comments Conway after 65 bursaries were awarded to matric graduates from the four KZN centres.

“This further underscores the programme’s reach and effectiveness in helping truly transform lives,” adds Conway.

Paul Bishop, one of the founders of the inaugural Engen Maths & Science School established in 1987 at the University of KZN and former Principal of Fairvale Secondary School, reflected on the genesis of the 37-year-old programme.

“We initiated the programme to combat low pass rates,” remembers Bishop.

“After observing students’ struggles in mathematics and science, which detrimentally impacted overall pass rates, we made it our mission to enhance their performance in these subjects.”

And from the outset there were no shortage of takers, reminisced Bishop, with attendees recognising the many benefits of supplementary tutoring.

“Our aim was not to supplant the school curriculum but to augment it with focused tutoring, affording students an unbelievable advantage.”

After assuming the role of Principal at Fairvale in 2000, Bishop played a pivotal role in establishing the first school based EMSS Centre.

“Today I marvel at its expansion to encompass four EMSS centres in KZN alone and another six across South Africa.”

Drawing from personal experience, Bishop highlighted the achievements of his children, Kim and Karl, today a medical doctor and chartered accountant respectively, and both beneficiaries of the EMSS programme.

“To this day, both attribute their outstanding academic performance to EMSS,” he proudly acknowledges.

Attending this year’s EMSS graduation ceremony hosted by Fairvale Secondary School in February, Bishop expressed astonishment at the abundance of bursaries awarded to students to further their studies.

“The EMSS programme transcends mere tutoring; it’s the opportunities it provides to feeder schools, communities, and society at large,” he remarks.

Engen CSI Manager, Mdabula, further emphasised EMSS’s continued role in mitigating critical skills shortages in Maths, Science and English, thereby fostering economic growth and development.

“Through targeted support and allocation of resources, EMSS empowers students to unlock their full potential and pursue fulfilling careers,” she affirms.

As a company, Engen advocates 9 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 4 – Quality Education, underscoring its long-held endeavour to foster inclusive and equitable educational opportunities for all.

Adds Mdabula: “Engen recognises that investing in quality education is vital for driving positive change and fostering a diverse and skilled workforce.

“By championing educational excellence through initiatives like EMSS, Engen is not only shaping individual destinies but also contributing to the broader socioeconomic advancement of South Africa, with our ultimate reward being to help set talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also their families and the broader economy of South Africa.”