Liberty’s key focus area remains education. The company supports initiatives that follow a lifelong trajectory, targeting each life stage of a learner with the aim of improving their performance in mathematics, physical science and literacy. A strong emphasis is placed on mathematics as, through this subject, learners gain the problem-solving skills that are both necessary and marketable in today’s technically oriented market place.
- One such initiative supported by Liberty is the Kutlwanong Centre for Maths, Science and Technology.
- Liberty supports two Kutlwanong centres: Ponego Centre in Katlehong, Gauteng; and Sibusisiwe Centre in umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal. Both centres cater for 600 grade 10 to 12 learners.
This market place is now global and South Africa must aim to achieve a competitive edge; and, as such, Liberty recognises that this will require expert problem-solvers. Practise in problem-solving will help to train the country’s future leaders of technological development.
Supporting maths and science
One such initiative supported by Liberty is the Kutlwanong Centre for Maths, Science and Technology. Established in 2004 by former teacher, Mr Tumelo Mabitsela, this non-profit organisation assists learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds by improving their performance in core subjects. In so doing, they are provided the opportunity to enter into a wider selection in terms of study field.
Liberty supports two Kutlwanong centres: Ponego Centre in Katlehong, Gauteng; and Sibusisiwe Centre in umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal. Both centres cater for 600 grade 10 to 12 learners. In 2013, 149 matriculants wrote their final exams, of which 147 learners achieved university passes and 77 distinctions were achieved in mathematics. The 2014 results were similarly outstanding with 190 of the 204 learners achieving a university entrance pass and 83 achieving distinctions in mathematics.
Two learners stand out as a testament of the potential of this programme to change realities. Refiloe Machaba from Katlehong Technical High was the top learner in 2013, having achieved a distinction pass with 100% in mathematics and 98% in physical science. Refiloe is now in his second year of his actuarial science studies at Wits university.
Michael Bila from Ponego Comprehensive School was the top achiever for 2014. “Before being a learner at Kutlwanong, I mostly received average grades,” explains Michael. “I used to struggle a lot with my school work. Kutlwanong unleashed the best in me. Mam Maseko, the Centre Manager, used to tell us that we should use our emotions as a vehicle to success; that we should review our disadvantaged backgrounds and notice that change needs to occur. She told us to study with a purpose. My Kutlwanong educators then added the remaining reactants needed to fuel the vehicle which leads to ultimate success – education,” he adds.
Michael not only achieved a distinction with 100% for both mathematics and physical science, but he was crowned the country’s top physical science learner for the class of 2014 by Minister Angie Motshekga. Due to his excellent results, he was the recipient of a Liberty bursary and is currently studying his first year of actuarial science at Wits.
Liberty started funding the Kutlwanong Programme in 2013. “We are eagerly awaiting the 2015 matric results as these learners were our first intake of grade 10s,” says Liberty’s CSI Manager, Ayanda Sema. “This programme is but one of many ways in which Liberty is changing the realities of the future leaders of South Africa and will continue to do so,” adds Sema.