At a lunch held to honour and motivate recipients of South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) bursaries, two young people who previously benefited from the bursary initiative spoke about the opportunities in the fields of maths and science and the importance of not giving up on one’s dream to pursue tertiary eduction.
On Tuesday September 27, Malesiba Mabe and Johan Ferreira, who are former pupils of the Center of Science and Technology (COSAT) in Khayelitsha, as well as former Sanral bursary recipients, spoke to a group of young people who are attending Cosat through the financial assistance of Sanral.
Ms Mabe, a former University of Pretoria student and now a road designer urged the pupils, particularly girls, to pursue maths and science subjects because there was a scarcity of women in the science and technology world.
“I know it is not easy because we come from different backgroundS, but it’s worth a try. There are companies like Sanral that are always willing to help the poor,” she said.
She said pupils needed to set their priorities and build their character.
Stressing the importance of getting women into the field of maths and science, she said: “Women are needed in numbers. It is for that reason that they should be motivated. I started with my love for technical drawing. Today I am connecting people. I love connecting the world through roads,” she said.
Mr Ferreira, who is now an electrical and electronic engineer, said pupils should know that they have a chance to be engineers and that there are opportunities available to them.
“If, for example, one did electrical or electronic science, one could do informatics, robotics, energy and telecommunications. So yes opportunities are there,” he said.
He urged them to take their education seriously and warned that without discipline, they would not go anywhere.
Sanral’s corperate executive, Heidi Harper, said what was important for them was to engage pupils, clothe them and give them bursaries. She said it was important that children acquired skills in maths and science and that they were encouraged to make the right choices in their academic studies. “We are very happy to be part of Cosat. This is a delight for us. We are proud of the commitment Cosat has shown to the education of children,” she said
She said her company had been in partnership with the school since 2009 and that their relationship was growing.
School principal Fadiela Cooper said she would like to encourage their pupils to go into science fields.
“We would like to encourage young people to live up to their dreams. They must take up the challenge.
“We need these skills. They must pursue these skills. But we also want them to embody the values of respect and love for each other and their communities. They should also be part of social responsibility and give back as well,” she said.
Cosat has performed well in maths and science in the past years, being placed among the top 10 schools in the province for the matric exams over the past few years.