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WIND FARMS FUND MATHS AND SCIENCE TEACHERS
The two Loeriesfontein wind farms have extended their school funding programme in an effort to further support and improve STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the Northern Cape.
These wind farms already fund a Foundation Teacher Support Programme that includes a dedicated Grade 7 Mathematics and Science teacher at Loeriesfontein Primary School. An additional teacher will now provide assistance to the Grade 8 and 9 class at the local high school. This intervention is aimed at increasing the number of school learners that take mathematics as a subject in Grades 10 to 12.
Speaking on behalf of Loeriesfontein High School, school Principal Jacques Klaaste, explained that the school’s challenge was to improve on the current maths and science pass rate, which had led to them asking the local wind farms for funding. Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm responded by offering to fund the salary for an additional dedicated maths and science teacher.
“The teacher took up the post in January this year, so it is still early days, but I believe that this extra help will definitely improve the current situation,” said Mr Jacques Klaaste, who went on to mention that the school currently has only one Grade 12 learner that has opted to take maths as a subject this year. This is something that the school would like to see changing with the additional dedicated teacher.
Education is a key focus area for the wind farm’s socio economic development programmes, especially Maths and Science. “We are particularly supportive of STEM education and would like to see many students taking engineering as a subject going forward, with an interest in the renewable sector,” explained Shannon Welsh, Economic Development Manager for Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm.
She went on to add, “We would ultimately like to get a stream of local Loeriesfontein learners ready to qualify for bursaries in mathematics and science fields post matric, so that they can pursue university degrees in Science and Engineering related fields.”
The teachers are appointed by the school’s Governing Body, whilst the Wind Farms fund the salary in accordance with the Department of Education’s framework.
Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm support social programmes, aimed at addressing poverty related problems in the area, which run parallel to the various education and skills development. The education and skills development programmes focus on infrastructure development, capacity building and job creation in order to help local community members to achieve sustainable living standards.