The Presbyterian Church of South Africa, St William Bottoman Memorial Circuit, believes churches can play a major role in community development through partnerships.
The church hosted a career exhibition on Saturday August 13 with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The St William Bottoman Memorial Circuit vice president and the organiser of the event, Hlelo Cengani, said career exhibitions at schools and tertiary education don’t normally reach parents pupils and so the church decide to host the expo for them too.
Mr Cengani called on other churches to follow in their footsteps and to change the paradigm in education.
He said churches have an ability to empower and develop communities in many ways.
“Career exhibitions at schools and other institutions don’t reach poor people. The parents are the custodians and guardians of kids so they need to be involved in such events.
“The information preached at the exhibitions should filter to parents too. That is why we invited the traffic department, police, aviation, tertiary institutions and many others so that parents can ask questions too.
“We need to change the paradigm. Parents should be able to motivate their own children. We need to motivate the kids and parents too,” he said.
He added that the state of the country’s economy highlighted the need for maths and science to be prioritised.
“The aim of this event is to address the gap in STEM within our immediate area of responsibility and present students with the endless possibilities provided through studies in mathematics and science.
“This will not only result in making education fashionable but also show the importance of maths and science in our country. It has been documented that critical scientific skills are needed in the country for the benefit of our economy, ultimately improving the lives of many South Africans,” he said.
The exhibition targeted 11 high schools in Khayelitsha and surrounding areas.
The event, which attracted interested groups and organisations involved with education, was aimed at pupils in grades nine to 12 who intend pursuing further studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Speakers at the expo encouraged pupils to follow their dreams when choosing their career paths.
Thandeka Magcwabeba stressed the need to help each other to better children’s education.
She commended the church for organising such “important event” to try to empower young people.
“There is nothing easy in life.
“All children need to do is to prioritise and surround themselves with positive-minded people.
“But most importantly they need to have time for their books. Follow their gut, not the parent’s or the teacher’s career choice,” she said.
She said pupils must allow themselves to dream big.
Another speaker, Nomakholwa Stokhwe, said she was touched to see a church organising a career expo and called on other churches to follow suit and help pupils from disadvantaged communities.
“I am proud to see this happening here, done by a church. It is encouraging to see a church playing this role. This is the way to go. As parents we need to believe in our children. We need to motivate them like the way thischurch hadone,”she aid.