Six-year pilot will expose 600 students to successive STEM2D Programmes

Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation partners with JASA to provide STEM2D Programmes to one cohort for six consecutive years

This pilot, which was launched this year, will continue until 2023, as a partnership between JA South Africa and the Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation, with key implementing partner Siyafunda CTC.

The same cohort of more than 600 learners will be exposed to a range of Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing and Design (STEM2D) Programmes, as they move from primary school through their high school careers.

The aim of this pilot is to redress the tendency in South Africa, which is mirrored on the rest of the continent, for learners to disregard careers in STEM in favour of other disciplines. It is estimated that only around 26% of graduates in South Africa graduate with a STEM-related degree, which is largely due to students not being exposed to STEM2D opportunities during their educational careers.

Tragically, the massive job shortage in South Africa is coupled with a skills shortage in STEM2D subjects, making it necessary to outsource jobs in these fields to foreign contractors. To compound the situation South Africa was ranked last out of 138 countries across the world for the quality of Science and Mathematics education, in The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2016 – 2017.

In-school experiential STEM education programmes can expose young people to careers in STEM2D subjects. Since 2012, JASA has partnered with corporates to promote STEM education and careers to students through career campaigns. In 2016, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, JASA successfully piloted the Opportunities Out There Programme focusing on encouraging young women to consider careers in STEM2D.

The following schools are participating in the six year pilot launched this year:

Krugersdorp, Gauteng

Matlhasedi Primary School and Madiba Secondary School

Welkom, Free State

Setshabelo Primary School and Letsete Secondary School

Acornhoek, Mpumalanga

Berreta Primary School and Acorn to Oaks Comprehensive High School

In this first year, the cohort is in the final year of primary school and are participating in JA’s Opportunities Out There – STEM2D Programme, with its variety of hands-on activities and technological supplements. These Grade 7s first learn what STEM2D is and progress to studying the professions in these fields, then learning what it takes to build a successful STEM2D business. In the subsequent programmes the focus will be on technology, entrepreneurship and work readiness.

In the course of the learning cycle, they will apply core STEM2D skills of research, analysis, application of findings, coding, algebra and structural design. A gaming and experiential approach will assist in keeping students engaged and interested, which will ensure retention.

JA South Africa is developing and providing the learning materials, and training the facilitators and educators. The Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation is providing the funding and our key implementing partner Siyafunda CTC will provide computer technology and coding expertise. The Department of Basic Education has assisted with recommending the schools and professionals from business, industry and academia will be consulted, as needed.

In addition to the production of learning materials and implementation of STEM2D activities, JASA will be involved in:

  • Establishing networks of STEM2D role models
  • Arranging study tours to industries, businesses and universities
  • Selecting countries to partner with for student exchange programmes
  • Supporting readiness for university and college with STEM2D programmes
  • Running STEM2D related clubs and enterprises in schools
  • Monitoring and reporting on the programme

The aim is to prepare this cohort of students for meaningful economic participation in STEM2D fields when they complete their studies and refine their creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills.

Posted in Programmes, STEM2D.

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