By Shell South Africa on May 31, 2020
Education is one of South Africa’s top developmental priorities. Improving our real matric pass rate and encouraging more of our learners to take mathematics and science as core subjects are both crucial to developing a competitive, future-focused economy and to creating a more efficient education system.
When Sthembiso Musana first met Shell South Africa, both parties could not have realised that they were starting a relationship that would last for years.
For the Grade 11 pupil, his intention was taking his Maths, and Physical Science marks to the next level. For this, he required practical teaching support. Fortunately, this support was close at hand and was being offered at his Katlehong school by Shell South Africa through one of their Maths and Science programmes.
“In Grade 10, Physics was difficult,” Sthembiso recalls. Then Shell came in on Saturday mornings in my Grade 11 year and started offering extra classes. Things started to improve from Grade 10 to Grade 11. My marks went from 60% to 70%. I stuck with the programme into Grade 12 (matriculation), and my scores increased from 70% to 90%. I got 98% for my Physics final exam and 93% for my Maths.”
“Yes, I did work hard, but my marks wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t been attending the programme from the beginning. Most of the concepts were made more explicit in the classes and that helped me. Shell told me in Grade 11 that they had bursaries available, but only those who achieved 60% or more could apply.”
“I worked towards that target and was offered a bursary in Grade 12.”
Originally, Sthembiso wanted to study Mechatronics Engineering. However, after some reflection, he realised that it would probably be better to study Electrical Engineering and consider adding mechatronic studies after he had some engineering experience under his belt.
Now, he is studying towards an Electrical Engineering degree. Sthembiso has Shell at the top of his mind after graduation. He hopes, he says, to join the company and carve himself a career in a global environment.
In the meantime, Shell supports Sthembiso with a bursary that covers full tuition, accommodation, meals, books, and tutor lessons. This support is crucial as, without it, he would not be able to consider tertiary education. “Getting the bursary is one of the best things to ever happen to me,” he says.
His path to university, however, wasn’t without its difficulties. His mother, who had single-handedly brought him up, passed away unexpectedly while he was preparing for the most important exams of his life during his matric year. Her funeral took place two days before he was due to take his maths exam. He sat for the exam and passed with distinction, an achievement he views as a tribute to his mother.
There is no doubt that his single-minded focus on getting ahead played a part in his school achievements and will continue to drive his studies and future career. The move from high school to a competitive academic institution where self-discipline is a requirement for success was empowering. “The move has helped me realise that the harder I work, the more I can achieve in life,” he concludes.