Eskom encourages more young people to take Maths

Friday, 28 October 2022: Bloemfontein was abuzz when learners from across all the districts of the Free State gathered for the final round of the Eskom-supported Maths Competition held at Gonyane Primary School on 14 and 15 October 2022.

The competition, which is now in its sixth year, is a partnership between Eskom, the Free State Department of Education, and Kagiso Trust. Its key objectives are to generate interest in Mathematics, promote problem-solving skills in Maths, emphasise the importance of reading in Maths activities, provide a diagnostic tool to enable teachers to identify learners’ misconceptions, increase learner participation and performance, and elevate Free State Mathematics standards to be in line with international standards.

An impressive 122 880 learners from Grade 8 to 11 participated in the competition, with 160 learners ultimately making it to the finals. Winners received coveted prizes, including textbooks for their schools, electronic tablets, vouchers, power banks, USB flash drives, cash vouchers, a trip to Cape Town, and a laptop for the overall winner.

“Eskom is keenly interested in the development of South Africa and will continue to do whatever it can to support Maths programmes in the country to help close the scarce-skills gap,” says Eskom Group Executive for Government and Regulatory Affairs, Nthato Minyuku.

“We are proud to have ensured continuous sponsorship of the Maths Competition since its inception. As Eskom prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday on 1 March 2023, we are proud to have contributed to the youth of the Free State. We are also humbled to have touched the lives of South African communities positively through targeted CSI programmes driven by the Eskom Development Foundation,” adds Minyuku.

Minyuku lauded the partnership between Eskom, the Free State Department of Education, and Kagiso Trust and emphasised that addressing the real problems of unemployment and the lack of jobs, especially among the youth, will require wider support and help from the private and public sectors.

“Eskom can do, and does, a great deal, but much more is needed when we want to slay the dragon of helplessness that unemployment brings with it. Eskom needs future engineers, scientists, accountants, actuaries, and researchers, and so do all those entities in the private and public sectors. This initiative to promote Maths in the Free State is part of what must be done by so many companies, state-owned entities, and the government itself,” says Minyuku.

“Eskom’s sponsorship of this initiative is in line with our commitment to support various educational and development initiatives designed to have a positive impact on youth development, thereby assisting in setting them up for success and to contribute meaningfully to a rapidly evolving digital world of work,” explains Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Sumaya Nassiep.

Eskom is also involved in a number of similar initiatives that empower young people. These include the Simama Ranta School Entrepreneurship Competition, SciMathUS, and the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists (EEYS). These initiatives aim to promote science and Maths among learners across the country, stimulate and assist with establishing and growing small businesses, promoting innovation, and assisting communities in many ways.

“Eskom is an engineering and technology company. Therefore, our sponsorship of these programmes is also an investment in our country’s future. . To date we have witnessed a notable return on investment through the positive contributions by the alumni of these programmes who ply their trade in various companies and sectors of the economy,” Nassiep says.

Agnes Mlambo, General Manager of Eskom’s CentralEast Cluster (Free State and KwaZulu-Natal), is delighted about the growth that the project has seen since its inception in 2017. “Mathematics is everywhere,” says Mlambo. “In every profession, and even when you are simply shopping, baking, or tackling a Do It Yourself (DIY) project at home, you are practising Maths in some way or another. Through choosing to prioritise mastering Maths, these learners are broadening their career prospects and investing in their futures.”

Free State Education MEC, Dr Tate Makgoe and Chief Executive Officer of Eskom Development Foundation, Ms Sumaya Nassiep with the 2022 Free State Maths Competition winners.

Below are the top winners of the competition.

  • Cara Stevens, a Grade 11 learner from Eunice Secondary School in Motheo district, was the overall winner of the competition.
  • Jana Russouw from Hoërskool Jim Fouché in Motheo district was crowned the winner in the Grade 10 learners’ category.
  • Mojafela Mkwanazi from Cedar Secondary School in Fezile Dabi district was crowned the winner in the Grade 9 learners’ category.
  • Lienka Stevens from Eunice Secondary School in Motheo district took first place in the Grade 8 learners’ category.


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