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Sweet success for Illovo South Africa’s STEM learners

by Merelda Naidoo
3 minutes read

Early support in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) studies are proving to assist learners in achieving top marks, and for KZN-based sugar manufacturer, Illovo Sugar South Africa, all four of their adopted schools achieved stellar pass rates.

Illovo Sugar South Africa’s (ISSA) STEM classes, with the assistance of an implementing agency, provide additional tuition to Maths and Science learners in grades 10, 11 and 12 in four high schools close to their mills – Mabomvini Combined School in Eston, Lamontville High School in Merebank, Gobizembe Secondary School in Noodsberg, and Sihle High School in Sezela.

A total of 172 learners from the four schools achieved Bachelors passes.

Recently, ISSA recognised the achievement of the learners and schools at a lunch celebration at the Eston Mill Academy.

Lindiwe Khuzwayo, Head of Corporate Affairs at Illovo Sugar South Africa, said, “This is a story of excellence. ISSA is committed to making a difference in the communities around our mills, and our STEM classes are an investment in the communities and the people who support us. We are taking this moment to pause and reflect on the impact that the support has provided for our learners, allowing them to perform well in what are considered difficult subjects. ISSA is committed to continuing the classes so that one day, these young learners will be leading us in the future.”

Gobizembe High School from KwaSwayimane near Noodsberg recorded a 92% pass rate, Lamontville High School from Lamontville achieved 81%, Mabomvini Combined School from Eston performed well with a 96% pass rate and Sihle High School from Sezela celebrated a pass rate of 85%.

Mayor of uMshwathi Municipality Cllr Madla Zondi, who attended the event to celebrate with Gobizembe High School from his district, said: “Education is key, and we are so happy to see the achievements of the learners. It is thanks to the intervention of Illovo South Africa and your investment in the communities and our future leaders.”

Representing the KZN Education Department, Bongani Simelane encouraged learners to make use of every opportunity.

“Go out there and seize every opportunity. You have done well in Maths and Science, and this is your chance to use your knowledge and do your best,” he said.

Two of the learners are already registered to study Agriculture at UKZN, while another is pursuing studies in Pharmacy.

Sphesihle Sibisi, from Sihle High School, who is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Animal Science at UKZN, said: “I am so excited at being recognised for my work, but it was thanks to the extra lessons we had with Illovo Sugar South Africa. It was not easy, but now that we see the results, it has paid off. I want to be a farm owner one day, and Maths and Science is key to me being successful in my future.”

Some of the top achievers from these schools are now part of the selection process for ISSA bursaries for studies that include engineering, finance, computer science and agriculture.

Image Caption: On the path to success are, from left, Zanele Maphumulo from Sihle High School, Kwazi Mdubeki from Lamontville High School and Sphesihle Sibisi from Sihle High School, as top achievers in Illovo Sugar South Africa’s STEM class programme.

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