The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has donated R30 million to higher education studies in mathematics, science and technology.
SANRAL and the University of the Free State (UFS) have jointly launched a new chair in science, mathematics and technology education.
The R30-million donation is expected to last for five years, and is set to improve the quality of teaching in these subjects at township and rural schools.
The donation forms part of the university’s School Change Project (SCP), a flagship initiative launched by the vice-chancellor Prof Jonathan Jansen.
SANRAL CEO Nazir Alli said the agency was committed to helping more students enrol in science-related studies and careers, and had sponsored several programmes at tertiary institutions.
“Education is one of the key priorities of the South African government and SANRAL has for many years been offering scholarships and bursaries to high school learners and university students as a way of ploughing back into the community,” said Alli.
He said the success of government’s National Infrastructure Plan, which promises to create thousands of jobs and boost empowerment, would hinge on skills dependent on mathematics and science.
“By partnering with the University of the Free State and establishing the chair in science, mathematics and technology education, SANRAL will help to ensure that South African students can measure up to international standards in the mathematical world,” Alli said.
SANRAL said it would also train 44 teachers in mathematics and science at 22 schools.
Student teacher interns will help teachers and SCP mentors will monitor progress through weekly visits.
“The interns will receive financial support to pursue undergraduate studies in maths and science education, and in return, they will commit to teaching these subjects for a period of four years after the completion of their studies,” SANRAL said.