Shell helps SA’s teachers and pupils get to grips with maths and science

The country needs more science, technology, engineering and maths graduates, and Shell has stepped up to the challenge

Image: 123RF/ajcotton

In South Africa, there is still a shortage of qualified graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), which has led to a huge need in these industries for talented people with relevant knowledge and skills.  

“[Science] is more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world,” said former US president Barack Obama at a White House Science Fair in March 2015.

Aiming to inspire young people to pursue careers in these fields, multinational oil and gas company Shell offers STEM-related programmes and works with learning institutions in South Africa such as the Maths Centre and the READ Educational Trust. It has also created education platforms where teachers are trained to teach maths and science to primary and high school pupils.

The goal is to ensure 50% of current STEM pupils in South Africa graduate with qualifications in these subjects by 2020.

Shell supports STEM-related programmes from primary school to tertiary education. These programmes focus on building teacher and pupil capacity to increase skills in these areas and create a talent pipeline for the company, which also provides bursaries for further studies at institutions of higher learning.

1. Rally to numeracy

Shell’s flagship education programme, which was introduced in 2011 and has now been rolled out in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape and the Free State, has helped increase teachers’ understanding and teaching of the maths syllabus and improved numeracy levels in beneficiary schools.

2. Scholarships for maths and science learners

Shell has adopted five schools in Ekurhuleni where pupils and teachers are supported broadly with maths and science, and high-performing pupils are provided with bursaries to pursue STEM-related studies.

3. Bursary programme

The company provides annual bursaries for tertiary education based on students’ financial need and academic performance.

Shell contributes skills and resources to create lasting benefits within the communities where it operates.

The company believes young people need to be taught to think deeply and learn how to tackle real-world problems within STEM disciplines. This will allow them to become the innovators, researchers and leaders who can solve the challenges facing South Africa now and in the future.

This article was paid for by Shell.