Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) is helping address South Africa’s shortage of engineers by donating three computer, physical science and chemistry labs to the Sonyongwana High School near Creighton in rural KwaZulu-Natal (Madzikane District).
The company said the fully equipped laboratories were handed over on 24 May.
Duduzile Letseli, Human Resources Manager at RDM, said it is a well-known fact that South Africa has a dire shortage of skilled engineers and scientists and many rural schools are at a serious disadvantage because they are under-funded and under-equipped.
“Our company was looking for an educational project that would have a positive impact on the lives of many people who do not have access to proper resources. In the long-run we want to increase the pool of skilled and qualified engineers in the country,” she said.
Letseli said over the past decades South Africa has been facing the challenge of a diminishing number of qualified, skilled engineers. Also the number of draughtsmen and artisans, who are specialists in their own right, has decreased. Simultaneously, the acceleration of global technological change drives the demand for high-level skills sets in the engineering sector. In order to mitigate this shortage, education and training is deemed to be the gateway to opportunity.
The Sonyongwana High School has 900 learners, of which 500 are taking Maths in grades 10, 11 and 12.
In addition to the computer lab with 40 computers and a chemistry and physical science laboratory, the company said it is also paying for the hiring of two teachers for E-learning. Teachers will also be trained in the use of the equipment and all Grade 10 – 12 maths students will receive scientific calculators. Wi-fi has been provided to meet the system requirements and to facilitate an E-learning platform for teaching.
Mr Sifiso Xulu, Principal of the Sonyongwana High School, said, “I am extremely grateful that RDM has chosen our school for this major investment. This is a major boost to our learners’ education and it opens up future opportunities for them to study further.”
Letseli said over the next three years RDM is to provide bursaries to deserving students who intend studying towards degrees in science, technology, engineering and maths. The company is also committed to investing in future projects that will empower students and teachers even more, RDM said.