Engen classes help Montclair’s Andiswa bag 6 distinctions

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Ganges Secondary School alumnus, Andiswa Mtaka Mbense aced matric in no small part thanks to the supplementary classes offered by the Engen Maths and Science School.

The Montclair local, whose six distinctions secured him a coveted place to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2024, attributes much of his success to the guidance and support provided by the Engen Maths and Science School’s dedicated teachers.

“The Engen programme assisted me in exam preparation, and the teachers guided me on focus areas which gave me a solid approach on how to do well in each paper,” says Andiswa.

“The teachers are very knowledgeable about their subjects and also very approachable, helping to motivate and encourage students to ask for help and strive for excellence.”

Engen Maths and Science Schools have been running for over 35 years and proudly help nurture talented young South Africans like Andiswa by providing free supplementary education to over 1 500 learners annually at 10 centres across South Africa.

For Andiswa, overcoming shyness when he was younger and navigating the heavy workload and distractions during his matric year, are challenges that have helped him value the importance of having balance in his life.

“I have big dreams and aspirations, but I understand that it’s important to create wonderful memories with the people you care about,” he reflects.

Andiswa, whose success serves as an inspiration to his fellow students, offers valuable advice to this year’s matric class.

“Time is all you have in this world.  Each of us must decide what to do with their 24 hours. Dream big because anything is possible, and never give up.”

The support of his close family and friends helps motivate Andiswa through the day is.

“Having people around you who care about you and are willing to listen to you is the greatest blessing I have,” he notes.

Engen’s CSI Manager, Olwethu Mdabula, emphasises EMSS’s focus on gateway subjects—mathematics, English, and science — to help address the country’s skills shortage and contribute to economic growth.

Mdabula explains that EMSS aims to unlock the potential of talented young learners, providing them with the resources and guidance needed to achieve academic excellence and pursue tertiary education.

Recent Department of Basic Education data indicates improvements in pass rates for mathematics and physical science. However, the limited number of learners achieving the essential 60% minimum mark in maths and science for university entrance to engineering, commerce and science degrees underscores the vital role played by EMSS in supporting young talent, especially in STEM subjects.

“EMSS is dedicated to transforming the lives of young learners, who often face severe socio-economic challenges, by bridging educational gaps, and empowering them to reach their full potential,” comments Mdabula.

As a company, Engen champions the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 – Quality Education, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

“Engen is keenly aware that access to quality education and gender equality is everybody’s business, and that it owes it to its employees, customers, and broader society to make every effort to drive positive change,” adds Mdabula.

“It is Engen’s ultimate reward 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.”

Engen is incredibly proud of all EMSS learners who completed matric in 2023.

Engen is hosting a series of awards ceremonies in February at EMSS centres across South Africa where the programme’s Grade 10-12 learners will be honoured, and the top achievers named.

Andiswa’s journey is a testament to the impact of EMSS in shaping young minds and contributing to South Africa’s growth.

Looking ahead, Andiswa envisions a future where he not only achieves professional success but also becomes a source of support for his family.

“I hope to study hard, graduate, get a job, and provide for my family so that I can pay back all their kindness they have shown me,” he shares. “I would love to have a family and become a better father to my children, as I don’t know my own dad,” he adds.

Engen’s dedication to creating a diverse and vibrant workforce aligns with its goal of setting talented individuals on paths that benefit not only them but also their families and the broader economy.