A R1.6 million donation from Petroleum Agency South Africa to Manzomthombo Secondary School in Mfuleni last Monday had pupils and staff rejoicing.
According to school principal, John Matiso, the money would be used to build a mobile computer lab and buy iPads.
The school, which is among the top 10 best performing schools in the province, was visited by top officials from the provincial education department, the Petroleum Agency and other guests to witness the handover of the cheque.
Mr Matiso, who said the school and the agency started working together in 2017, thanked God for bringing these funders to the school so that they could assist them in shaping the lives of their pupils.
“I will be putting up solar power to shield the school from load shedding (and) power interruptions,” he said, adding that: “We have budgeted about R500 000 from that donation to buy 82 Apple iPads.
“The iPad would be used in the blended learning programme which the school is piloting together with the education department.
“With the iPad the teacher would be able to give work to the pupils and be able to mark their work from his or her iPad. The pupils will now use iPad as a tool and not text books,” he said.
Mr Matiso said they are using blended teaching where they use one class, which would be a contact class while other classes will get a live stream of the lesson which is currently taught from this one class.
Part of the funding, he added, would be used for academic support for Grade 12 holiday and Saturday classes.
Mr Matiso said they wanted to use the funding for initiatives that would ensure they maintained their good record as the school is one of the best performing schools academically.
He said last year they achieved a 89.7% pass rate, which was a drop from the 90% they had achieved the previous year. He was not happy about this.
However, he said, he understood that this was partly due to the fact that, in the past two years, pupils had only attended school for about a third of the usual time.
Petroleum Agency South Africa, representative Iyani Nedzamba, said when choosing which schools to support, they looked those which performed well and also considered the type of the subjects the school focused on.
Their aim, he said, was to identify and train future engineers and geoscientists.
He said through the funding they wanted the school to have a lab where they can continue to be innovative and learn as much as possible.
“I normally teach at the school during weekends as a geoscientist, where I teach Grade 9s and matrics. It is an exciting time to partner with the school because the school is doing wonders in terms of their performance.
“We are moving this school to the future of the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.
Mr Nedzamba said it was important to establish an environment for learning for the township children and provide them with the necessary resources to succeed.
School governing body, Mthunzi Khala, said he was pleased with the donation of the money as it would help the school to improve their academic support.
Petroleum Agency South Africa corporate social investment officer, Zingisa Matros, said when they visited the school to assess it, they had seen an eagerness for success and were further blown away by the fact that pupils didn’t skip any Saturday or holiday classes.