Coega maths and science students aim for a brighter future


Youth grab opportunity for a better education

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) has announced that its mathematics and physical science Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme –established last year – “has achieved a record pass rate of 71.4% in maths and 85.7% in physical science,” said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.

The initiative by the CDC gives candidates a second opportunity at a better education, so they can gain university entry and become the scientists, engineers and technologists South Africa needs, the organisation said today.

“When the learners pass these subjects their lives change completely. Even if they do not go to institutions of higher learning they acquire a certificate that is a minimum requirement for various opportunities.  However, the real success of the project is based on the number of learners who are admitted to institution of higher learning,” said Mpumezo Ndabeni, CDC maths and science programme project manager.

”Various factors prevent candidates to being admitted to these institutions, such as late applications and lack of funds,” adds Ndabeni.

Candidates write ongoing assessments during the year and exams in June, September and November.

The programme achieved high number in the year 2013, with 75 learners participating. This year 100 learners were admitted at the centre. The pass rate for Maths was 71.4% and it was 85.5% for Physical Science. The highest mark achieved by a learner was 85% for Maths and 71% for Physical Science.

“Our CSI programme, seeks to speak to the challenges faced by ordinary citizens in the country. What has particularly worked in our favour is the diversity of our CSI projects. We also have an additional science project known as the CDC Mobile Science Laboratories which assists numerous schools with practical work for Physical Science,” said Thandi Rayi, CDC CSI manager.

Some of the candidates who benefitted from the maths and science programme are twins Chandre and his sister Chante Adams. The Adams siblings from Booysen Park in Port Elizabeth, completed the maths and science course last year and are currently furthering their education.

Chandre, who passed matric, said he was unhappy with his maths and science mark so he decided to take one step back in order to move forward.

“I passed matric but my marks were not good enough for university entry level. Attending the classes helped improve my marks. The facilitators refreshed our memories by taking us back to basics. We had to learn grade 10 and grade 11 maths and science before we worked on grade 12 work,” he said.

Chandre who is currently a first year Information Technology  (IT) student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) said he would like to further his studies and also complete an engineering degree later on.

He dreams of owning his own IT company and someday creating work for others. “I would like to also design a programme to make life better for others,” he said.

Chandre’s sister, Chante, is a pharmacy assistant intern at Mercantile Hospital pharmacy. After obtaining a pass mark last year she managed to get a bursary and is completing her two year pharmacy assistance course with S Buys College located in Johannesburg.

“I did not pass matric but was eager to further my education. Our parents are stern when it comes to us getting a good education and they want us to go the extra mile. So when the opportunity presented itself for me to re-write my maths and science I grabbed it.

“I am grateful to the maths and science facilitators and to Coega who never gave up on us. They offered us the best learning materials. They gave others like myself a second chance. I feel I can now play my role in society,” Chante said. 

About 4 000 learners, between grades 10 and 12, as well as junior grades, are benefitting from the programme which has a footprint in the education districts:  Port Elizabeth; Uitenhage; Fort Beaufort; Mdantsane and Mthatha just to mention a few. The programme focusses on grade 10-12 learners but junior grades are also assisted.

In addition to improving their maths and science marks learners are also registered on Coega’s Gateway2Opportunity employment database, a single central point for employment opportunity.

“When the maths and science learners are registered on the G2O web portal we then look at employment opportunities for them, as well as apprenticeships and learnership opportunities” said Duncan Grenfell, CDC head of recruitment and placement. 

The Gateway to Opportunity (G2O) database was developed in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality as a public employment service, linking job seekers with potential employers.

G2O ( currently has 287 283 job seekers’ records and to date has placed 47 000 job seekers in employment.

“The G2O database provided comprehensive career guidance information, inclusive of industry trends and occupational outlooks. The maths and science programmes were “life-changing,” The CDC’s CSI initiatives make a positive impact in the Eastern Cape. We are continuing to deliver on this critical responsibility by investing in a range of projects, said Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.

“The CDC invests over R17million annually in thirteen deserving CSI initiatives directly impacting the lives of over 13 000 people and indirectly changing the course of history for their families,” added Dr Vilakazi. 


Photo Caption: BRIGHT FUTURE... Chandre Adams and his twin sister Chante both attended the Coega Development Corporation’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) mathematics and physical science academy last year and are furthering their studies this yearPhoto supplied.