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Maths & Science Centre Produces 5493 Distinctions

Vicky Abraham

An esteemed centre for Maths, Science and Technology, Kutlwanong has produced 1050 distinctions for the 2017 matric exams.

Kutlwanong is a Section 21, non-profit organisation registered with the Department of Basic Education. It was founded in 2005 in Dobsonville, Soweto and focuses on boosting Maths and Science performance of township and rural students through learner support, teacher development and career path programmes.

It started with 140 Grade 12 learners, tutored by four educators. Currently, they have 368 educators and 18 centres and have tutored over 16,041 learners in seven provinces.

In 2017, the centre enrolled 2,500 matriculants and 1,690 obtained bachelor’s degree passes.

Founder Tumelo Mabitsela said, they produced 610 distinctions in Physical Sciences with 11 learners scoring 100%, and others 90% and 99% in 2017.

In Maths, 512 distinctions were produced with four learners scoring 100%, others obtained between 90% and 99%. Two learners who wrote advanced Maths obtained distinctions. For Accounting 22 students obtained distinctions with two scoring 100%.

“Since our inception in 2005, we have produced 16,041 decent passes to date (50-100%) and 4,443 Grade 12 distinctions for Maths and Science. Kutlwanong (Promaths programme) has assisted over 16,041 learners today, of which 2371 obtained distinctions in Maths core and 38 in Maths Paper 3 and 1,894 in Physical Sciences and 140 in Accounting. Total distinctions we produced is 4,443,” said Mabitsela.

The figure has increased with 1,050 distinctions in 2017, which saw the centre produce 5,493 distinctions since its inception.

Each year, they have at least five learners that are top performers at a national level, who receive a special invitation from the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and are invited to the gala by the Gauteng Provincial MEC, Panyaza Lesufi.

“Our success is that we don’t look at student performance in a vacuum. For a learner to produce top results, they need to be committed to their studies requiring them to apply specific life skills like discipline, time management, resisting distractions and competitiveness. We foster these qualities from Grade 10, so that when learners get to Grade 12, they are prepared mentally for the journey ahead.”

“Beyond our statistics, I have seen real lives change and a new breed of matric learner bloom. Our programme has significantly created alumni of young black students entering tertiary education and professional careers in large numbers for the first time. A more significant outcome is that these students dare to dream. They want to succeed and know that it is within their reach.”

Mabitsela said as a father and an educator, he is passionate about education and the role it plays in opening doors and helping young people access tertiary education and employment opportunities.

“As a principal at Makhoarane School in Soweto, I noticed that while learners obtained distinctions and good marks in the languages, Maths and Science performance was poor, year-on-year. A contributing factor to poor performance was time spent on tasks for these subjects. Classroom time was not enough to grasp Maths and Science concepts and to ask questions. Based on the pressure to complete the syllabus, a new topic was introduced each day, whether or not students were ready for it,” said Mabitsela.

“There came a point where I had to get involved to make a difference. I wanted students to be proficient at these subjects to follow on scarce skills that our country needed. Our aim was to provide quality Maths and Science tuition for a small group of students, in the very area I resided in (Dobsonville). I wanted to make a difference on my doorstep, and I wanted to see results – students passing and excelling at these subjects. My vision was to help students improve their Maths and Science performance, making professional careers like Chartered Accountancy, Finance, IT and others accessible. I also understood early on that subject performance was not an isolated issue. These subjects were intimidating and there were few local role models to help students feel empowered to succeed. Our programme needed to motivate learners and help them believe that success was within their reach,” said Mabitsela.

He said from humble beginnings, Kutlwanong started out with a vision to improve Maths and Science high school performance. Their programme is now diverse, encouraging students to not only think about life after matric but to plan for it.

*Meanwhile, Bhukulani Secondary School in Zola, Soweto, produced 123 distinctions in various subjects for 2017 exams and 144 in 2016.

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