Girls excel as Engen Maths and Science School boasts highest ever pass rate

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The Engen Maths and Science School (EMSS) programme has again delivered the goods!

The long-running supplementary education programme for underprivileged Grade 10-12 learners, has announced a record breaking 96.7% pass rate for the 2022 matric class, of which 72% achieved bachelor passes.

These stellar results were achieved despite learners being hit with over 200 days of power cuts and the matrics being the cohort hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic which broke out in their Grade 10 year!

These results again affirm the crucial role that the Engen supported programme plays in the lives of talented learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, with the EMSS consistently achieving pass rates better than the national average.

With close to 2 000 learners registered on the programme annually, Engen acknowledged the top achieving Grade 12’s for 2022 at an awards ceremony on 18 February 2023.

Speaking at the event held at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Engen’s head of Stakeholder Engagement and Transformation, Dr James Nyawera said the company is “extremely proud of all the 2022 matriculants.”

“But I must make special mention of, and commend the outstanding results attained by the EMSS’s top three national achievers in 2022,” he added.

Celebrating Girl-Power

The top-national achiever, Nando Popo attained 7 distinctions and attended the EMSS programme that sits every Saturday at Manzomthombo School in Mfuleni in the Western Cape.

An alumnus of Mfuleni High School, Nando’s hard work resulted in 97% for Maths, 92% for science and 87% for English results which have secured her a place to study medicine at the University of Cape Town this year.

The second best performing EMSS matric nationally was Elethu Gcabashe, a former pupil of Zwelibanzi High School, who attended the uMlazi EMSS Centre in KZN.

Elethu’s 8 distinctions – including 93% for Maths and 95% – secured her a place to study Business Science specialising in Accounting and Finance at the University of Cape Town.

Girl Power, in second place Elethu Gcabashe, from uMlazi, with top place national winner Nande Popo, from Manzomthombo, and Sibulele Natuse (third) from East London.

In third place, Sibulele Natuse, an alumnus of Lumko High School and an attendee at the East London EMSS Centre achieved an incredible 92% for Maths, 84% for science and 91% for English.

Sibulele’s full house of 7 distinctions for matric sees her join Nando studying Medicine at the University of Cape Town this year.

The Engen Maths and Science Schools have run for over 35 years, and offer underprivileged grade 10-12 learners free supplementary Maths, Science and English tuition on Saturdays at ten locations across South Africa.

Nyawera explains that the EMSS programme focuses specifically on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science.

“These subjects are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development,” says Nyawera.

“The 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,” he adds.

The EMSS programme’s crucial role and relevance was highlighted after recent statistics from the Department of Basic Education (DBE) indicated that more learners are opting to write maths literacy, which increased by 108 642 learners between 2020 and 2022 compared to pure maths, which only increased by 36 419 learners over that time. 

Pupils who passed pure maths also dipped from 57.6% in 2021 to 55% in 2022.

Engen will host a series of awards ceremonies in February at the 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 Belgravia and Manzombotho High), Port Elizabeth, East London, Cala and Johannesburg, and in KwaZulu-Natal where classes sit at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Hillview High School and Umlazi Commercial High School.

“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 Nyawera.

“The programme has worked tirelessly to help transform young underprivileged people’s lives, with a focus of creating a diverse and vibrant workforce.”

Engen is incredibly proud of our top three super stars – Nando Popo, Elethu Gcabashe and Sibulele Natuse – as well as all EMSS learners who completed matric in 2022, often despite extremely trying circumstances.

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,” says Khalid Latiff, Engen’s General Manager: Corporate Strategy and Communications.

“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 Latiff.