CSI Manager Olwethu Mdabula awards Grade 12 learner from the Umlazi EMSS, Wendy Ndadane, with Chief Marketing Officer Godfrey Vilakazi.

Engen Maths and Science School celebrates top KZN learners

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The Grade 12 learners who attended the four Engen Maths and Science Schools located in Durban in 2023 achieved flying colours for their matric exams.

Engen celebrated their effort and sacrifice at an awards ceremony at Fairvale High School on 10 February 2024, with special acknowledgement afforded to the Top matrics.

Engen Maths and Science Schools offer free supplementary classes every Saturday at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School and Umlazi Commercial High School.

The programme focuses on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science, as well as English.

Explains Engen’s CSI Manager, Olwethu Mdabula: “These subjects are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development.

“While Engen is extremely proud of all the 2023 matriculants, I must make special mention of, and commend the incredible results attained by our top KZN achievers,” adds Mdabula.

These top Engen Maths and Science School achievers were:

Keresha Nair, an alumna of Westville Girls’ High School, achieved 7 distinctions, including 93% for Physical Science and 88% for mathematics, results that have secured her a spot to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cape Town in 2024.

Nosipho Lungile Msomi from Wentworth chalked up 7 distinctions, which earned her a place to study medicine at the University of Cape Town this year.  An alumnus of Durban Academy High School, Nosipho achieved 82% for English, 87% for mathematics and 84% for Physical Science, marks that allow her to follow her dream of becoming an orthopaedic surgeon one day.

Wendy Asiphe Ndadane, a resident of Umlazi, is poised to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor after achieving 7 distinctions, including an outstanding 98% in mathematics and 96% in physical science during her matric year.

Azanda Mashinaye from Mobeni Heights resident and an alumnus of Durban Academy High School, notched up 6 distinctions and is planning on studying accounting at the University of Cape Town. Azanda’s marks included 85% for mathematics,86% for physical science and 80% for English.

Andiswa Mtaka Mbense from Montclair and an alumnus of Ganges Secondary School scooped 6 A’s and a place at the University of Cape Town, where he will be pursuing a BSc in Mechanical Engineering.

Kiara Ci-Anne Wagner, who resides on the Bluff, notched up an incredible 90% for both mathematics and physical science. An alumnus of Grosvenor Girls’ High School, her results have secured her a place at the University of the Witwatersrand to study electrical engineering.

Mdabula explains further that the Engen Maths and Science School (EMSS) programme seeks to harness the potential of talented young people in difficult circumstances and to also contribute to the pool of scarce skills in the country.

“The programme becomes a lifeline for students, offering them the resources and guidance necessary to achieve academic excellence and pursue higher education.”

The recently released Department of Basic Education (DBE) technical report reveals encouraging improvements in the pass rates for mathematics and physical science, with mathematics increasing from 55% in 2022 to 63.5% in 2023.

However, a concerning aspect is that out of the 166 337 learners who passed maths, only 41 273 achieved a mark of 60% and above, which is the minimum qualifying maths mark for university entrance to engineering, commerce and science degrees.

“This data underscores the invaluable role that EMSS plays in providing crucial support to young learners, particularly those demonstrating potential in STEM subjects,” says Mdabula.

In addition to mathematics, the pass rate for physical science also showed a positive trend, rising from 74.6% to 76.2%; however, only 35 468 learners achieved a mark of 60% and above, emphasising the continued need for initiatives like EMSS to bolster education in this critical subject.

“By providing extra tuition in gateway subjects like English, Mathematics and Physical Science, the programme strives to bridge the educational gap and empower students to reach their full potential,” affirms Mdabula.

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

These centres include Cape Town (classes are held at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Manzomthombo High), Eastern Cape (East London, Cala, and Gqeberha), Johannesburg (Zakariyya Park Combined School), and KwaZulu-Natal (at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School, and Umlazi Commercial High School).

EMSS educators with top EMSS learners, Engen staff and Community-Engen Joint Committee members.

“Starting off in the late 1980’s as Engen Saturday Schools, EMSS remains central to Engen’s efforts to contribute to the growth and transformation of South Africa,” continues Mdabula.

“The programme, with over 1 500 learners registered annually, continues to work tirelessly to help transform young people’s lives, with a focus on creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.”

Engen is incredibly proud of all EMSS learners who completed matric in 2023, often despite extremely trying circumstances.

The EMSS Awards and graduation took place at Fairvale Secondary School on February 10.

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.

“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,” concludes Mdabula.