Engen Maths and Science School propels Delft’s Anathi on the path to medical school

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Achieving seven distinctions in matric has firmly set Delft’s Anathi Tonisi on the path to realising her dream of becoming a doctor.

An alumna of Masibambisane High School, Anathi attributes much of her academic success to the supplementary classes she attended in grades 11 to 12 at the Engen Maths and Science School (EMSS) held at the EMSS Centre based at Mazomthombo Secondary School in Mfuleni.

This support played a pivotal role in securing her a place at the University of Cape Town in 2024 to study Medicine after scoring 90% for English, 93% for mathematics, and 86% for science in matric.

Anathi affirms the invaluable role of EMSS in providing her with crucial support, revision, and insights in maths, physical science, and English during classes held every Saturday.

“The classes really helped me grasp content I did not understand at school and provided me with additional resources like study guides, which were very beneficial during the exam period and helped improve my grades,” comments Anathi.

“The teachers were all excellent at explaining concepts and providing ample practice.”

The Engen Maths and Science School program, running for over 35 years, nurtures talented young South Africans like Anathi, offering free supplementary education to over 1,500 learners annually at 10 centres across the country.

These centers are located in Cape Town (classes are held at Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Manzomthombo Secondary School), the Eastern Cape (in East London, Cala, and Gqeberha), Johannesburg (Zakarriya Park), and KwaZulu-Natal (at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School, and Umlazi Commercial High School).

Anathi emphasizes the crucial role her family played in her success, stating: “Although my family has financial issues that made affording study materials challenging, my parents are hardworking and supportive and tried their best to support me.”

Anathi says that effective time management was a hurdle she overcame to achieve academic success, while adapting to the new norm in matric of having to stay at school for extra hours and at the same time having to make time for studying.

“It was a lot of pressure – I had to sacrifice my social life and had little sleep.”

Her considered advice to this year’s matrics is to work diligently and remain persistent.

“Being in Grade 12 is a journey that isn’t easy, and it’s inevitable to feel yourself crumbling under the pressure but if you continue to remember your goals, you’ll be able to make it through.”

To stay motivated, Anathi embraces her favourite quote: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall” by Confucius.

“I always recite these words to acknowledge and accept that failure is part of life, and instead of fussing about it, I should rather focus on improving myself and rectifying my mistakes in such a way that it makes me a better version of myself.

“Prayer is what always starts and ends my day. I believe that without God, I would not be even where I am at this point in my life.”

Looking to the future, Anathi hopes to become a medical professional.

“Hopefully, I can become an essential part of the medical field and be able to uplift its prestige.”

Engen’s CSI Manager, Olwethu Mdabula, emphasizes the EMSS programme’s focus on gateway subjects – mathematics, science and English — 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.

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

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.