On the 27th of August 2016 the Maths Centre was invited to the Science Centre Inauguration and Mahlatsi Mathole, the Maths Center’s Corporate Services Manager gave the following speech.
The Maths Centre’s Mahlatsi Mathole.
In 2009 forty-one percent of South Africa’s privately held businesses cite the availability of a skilled workforce as the biggest constraint to business growth, according to consultancy firm Grant Thornton’s 2009 International Business Report. This is the third consecutive year that workforce issues have been cited in Grant Thornton’s survey as the greatest impediment to growth in South Africa, though the figure is down from 48% in the 2008 survey. (http://www.southafrica.info/business/economy/gtibr- 190209.htm#.WCwh0xH_rIV#ixzz4QA3R3Vgu)
In 2014 Skilled trades and engineers remain the most difficult positions for companies to fill, according to Manpower Group’s tenth annual Talent Shortage Survey. The survey is conducted annually, using a sample of 750 businesses in South Africa.
“With unemployment in the country remaining high, it is surprising that employers continue to have difficulty filling positions. South Africa’s continued skills deficit is being compounded by a lack of technical skills, which is having a negative impact on employment across many sectors of the country’s economy,” explained Lyndy van den Barselaar, managing director of Manpower South Africa. “Furthermore, there is a high instance of poverty among South African youth, leaving millions unable to pursue secondary and tertiary education or training, which presents a challenge in terms of their skills development and employment prospects.”
In 2014, when compared to the 41 other countries surveyed, South Africa came in 4th from the bottom, with only 8% of employers reporting difficulty filling jobs. 2015 This year (2016), the country has come in at 30th place, with 31% of employers reporting difficulty filling jobs – close on the global average of 38%.
This highlight the failure of education system to address the issue of technical subjects since 2007 based on Grant Thornton. When need to ask ourselves as educations and stakeholders within education, why is this problem persisting?
Let’s look at the Foreign Direct investment.
Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa increased by 1961 ZAR Billion in the second quarter of 2016. Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa averaged 442.69 ZAR Billion from 1956 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of 2089 ZAR Billion in the first quarter of 2016 and a record low of 1 ZAR Billion in the fourth quarter of 1957. Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa is reported by the South African Reserve Bank. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/south-africa/foreign-direct-investment
With this kind of monies following in our country, we need to ask ourselves why we are not creating employment. Companies are looking offshore for skilled technical workforce. We cannot afford to be silent anymore
What does this all say to us as educators?
- We need to adapt to the new world, which means constantly reviewing our teaching methods and incorporating various technique to breach the gap between education we offer and what the industries are crying for.
- We need to ask ourselves what does the world requires in terms of attitudes and technical knowledge and then equip ourselves first so that we can prepare our learners to meet the needs of the competitive world;
- We need to be strategic partners and constantly research for the purpose of facilitating transformation in the learning sphere. Yesterday methods cannot be good enough for today’ world.
- We ought to practice witch craft; see things that are coming, be ahead of change.
- We constantly need to ask ourselves at different intervals the question. Is the education we offer enough to equip our learners to engage in a meaningful way with their world
- Education ought to be transformative as Pablo freire put it quote ‘’ becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Richard Shaull, Pedagogy of the Opressed – Paulo Freire
- Education is the only chance we have and remain the viable solution out of poverty for our people; viable solution for our country in terms of creating employment and deal with many of social ills. Mandela quote ‘’ Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world’’
In conclusion, fruits of our labour needs to be visible. Our measure of success goes beyond learners distinctions at the end of the year. We need to understand we are providing inputs in our bigger production line. First to the university and ultimately to the various industries that so desperately needs creativity and innovation to solve many of the challenges we face today.
Maths Science and Technology is part of the bigger solution to us as a country. In years to come it might be a matter of survival for most of our people. Climate warming has shown that. The world we’ve known has passed; Maths, Science and Technology are the foundation of the new world. We need to improve in STEM subject to be able to compete in the global sphere. We as the Maths Centre we continue to dedicate our energy, intellect to assist both teachers and learner to improve in these subjects. Indeed our vision is to enable world class performance by both teachers and Learners. I thank many of the corporates who have partnered with us to make our vision a reality.
The Science Centre building.