Results earn school R5m centre

Chester Makana

Giant mining company Anglo Platinum opened a R5million science centre at Mbilwi Secondary School in Sibasa, Limpopo, at the weekend.

The company said it had been immensely impressed by the performance of Mbilwi as the top school in the province, producing better results without resources.

Anglo's Clyde Oakes said: "As part of our social responsibilities we are investing in education that will boost and empower students who were disadvantaged.

"We have done the same project in 16 schools since 2003 and we are looking to do others."

The MEC for education, Aaron Motsoaledi, welcomed the contribution by Anglo Platinum and said it was a pity that though such resources were available, the department still had a shortage of science and maths teachers.

Motsoaledi said the shortage of teachers was the outcome of apartheid policies.

He said apartheid-era prime minister Hendrick Verwoerd created Bantu education in 1952, which prevented blacks from studying science and maths.

His aim was for blacks to remain manual labourers.

"He did not think that it would affect the whole country in the future," said Motsoaledi.

He said it would take time to resolve the problem, but the government was trying to provide funds for people interested in becoming maths and science teachers.

Motsoaledi said most of the advertised posts in the department remained unfilled because few students from tertiary institutions became teachers.

Seven teachers recently resigned at Mbilwi for better offers at other schools and their posts are still vacant.

Motsoaledi said that the government was busy designing a programme that would help schools retain teachers by paying an additional salary to maths and science teachers.