Skills Development

Digging a little deeper


Most people recognise the key role that mining plays in the economy, as well as the fact that the metal uncovered enables many facets of modern life, including those rectangular gadgets most people now can’t live without.

We know that mining is essential to SA’s prosperity, and is at the heart of the South African economy – we also know that our country faces many challenges, including an education system that is wrought with inefficiencies, and a crucial need for engineers, particularly from previously disadvantaged groups. The level of education in critical subjects like Mathematics and Science urgently needs to be raised.

Thankfully there is a skip of gold at the end of the rainbow: things are changing and many mining companies are addressing social and corporate responsibility issues, as well as undertaking projects which assist community upliftment. There is also treasure to be found in innovative learning solutions which assist and empower learners.

It has been stated that a ‘good corporate citizen’ is one that has comprehensive policies and practices in place throughout the business that enables ethical decisions and conduct, the meeting of legal requirements, and in addition shows consideration for society, communities and the environment.

Glencore Merafe Wonderkop Smelter in the North West Province is one of many mining companies that is fully aware of what it takes to be a good corporate citizen, and they are taking great steps to mitigate the effects of mining by looking after the communities in which they operate, and helping to support said communities.

Since 2015 Glencore Merafe Wonderkop Smelter has used Macmillan Teacher Campus as a service provider to roll out a Learner Support Programme for Grade 10–12 learners in subjects like Mathematics, Physical Sciences, English, Accounting and Life Sciences at Tshukudu High School in Photsaneng, Marikana.

Learners get opportunities outside of normal school hours to improve their scientific, mathematical and literacy understanding. They attend Saturday and holiday classes and receive intensive extra exam support just before they write their June and final exams.

The learners all receive stationery such as exam pads, pens and scientific calculators, as well as text books and Macmillan’s sought-after Study Guides, which boast an SD-card with video lessons explaining the concepts. This card does not require data, and learners can watch the video lessons over and over in their own time until they grasp a difficult concept. Learners are also fed a meal during the tutoring sessions because it is hard to concentrate and learn well on an empty stomach.

The gold nuggets of this success story: since the Glencore-Macmillan Learner Support Programme started, the learner marks for Mathematics, Physical Sciences and English, as well as the overall school pass percentage, increased every year–(see the table below for 2015 and 2017 results).

An additional yield was that Tshukudu High School received accolades for being the best performing school in the district, as well as having the highest marks for Mathematics. They also received the coveted Floating Eagle trophy for their excellent academic performance from the Royal Bafokeng Administration.

Efraim Mucale, one of the matriculants of Tshukudu High School, received 5 distinctions in the 2017 final exams and cannot thank Glencore Merafe and Macmillan enough for the doors that opened to him due to attending this programme.

In a similar vein, since 2015 Glencore Merafe also resources the Foundation Phase classes at Tlhage Primary School in Marikana, as well as contributing to the Professional Development of teachers.

Four coaches are sent in twice a week and they work alongside the teachers who receive the correct guidance in terms of:

  • Lesson preparation
  • Watching demonstration lessons
  • Preparation of assessment
  • Teaching methodology
  • Analysis of results
  • Instituting interventions in the subject to meet shortcomings
  • Mediating resources

The teachers go on retreats twice a year, where they spend a weekend improving their ICT skills in order to manage their own school website, and are assisted to become successful and competent teachers with 21st century skills.

As you already know all about mines, here is some info regarding Macmillan Teacher Campus:

It was established in 2007 and has spent over a decade supplying the highest quality education and training to businesses, governments, corporations, universities, schools and learners countrywide. MTC is a nationally recognised accredited ETDPSETA training company renowned for superior training programmes which are delivered by an enviable team of qualified, expert and highly experienced trainers.

Their ETDPSETA accredited courses are of the highest quality as they ensure that their materials are practical, relevant and unit standard aligned.

Backed by Macmillan Education South Africa, Macmillan Teacher Campus is uniquely qualified to offer a varied range of bespoke training programmes, including e-learning and blended learning solutions, using an approach to learning that is both visionary and innovative.

They continue to lead the way in the education training industry just as others lead the way deep into the mines, in order to help uncover all the rich treasures this country offers, in terms of the most precious resource of all – all of us, the people of South Africa.

Anita Willers, Manager: Macmillan Teacher Campus

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This edition

Issue 42