Rising above the challenges – Engen applauds top EMSS matrics

Congratulations to the top 5 EMSS students for 2020 -Lindiwe Trout Naidoo, Thiyashan Pillay, Kirsten Prins, Sibulele Solilio and Kauthar Floris
Congratulations to the top 5 EMSS students for 2020 -Lindiwe Trout Naidoo, Thiyashan Pillay, Kirsten Prins, Sibulele Solilio and Kauthar Floris

The Engen Maths and Science Schools (EMSS) matric class of 2020 achieved stellar results, proving yet again the crucial role played by the Engen supported supplementary maths and science classes.

Despite an extremely disruptive year, the EMSS Grade 12s showed high levels of resilience and drive by attaining an impressive 84% pass rate, of which 63% attained bachelor passes.

The Engen Maths and Science Schools programme offers supplementary Maths, Science and English tuition to underprivileged grade 10-12 learners.

Saturday classes are held at nine locations across South Africa, including: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Cala and Johannesburg, and in KwaZulu-Natal at Fairvale High School, Ganges High School, Howard College, and Mangosuthu University of Technology.

The Grade 12 learners from across the country received their certificates and top achiever awards on 13 March 2021.

The Engen Maths and Science Schools programme has run for 33 years.

Its crucial role relevance was again highlighted after statistics from the Department of Basic Education recently indicated that there has been a decline in the number of students taking mathematics as well as a drop in overall mathematics performance.

Recent data shows that only 245,005 matric students enrolled for mathematics for the 2020 examinations – over 11,000 fewer than in 2019.

Engen’s General Manager: Corporate Strategy and Communications, Khalid Latiff explains that the EMSS programme focuses specifically on providing extra tuition in “gateway” subjects such as mathematics and science, which are considered critical in addressing the country’s technical and engineering skills shortage as well as spurring economic growth and development.

“The EMSS programme seeks to harness the potential of talented young people in difficult circumstances and to contribute to the pool of scarce skills in the country,” comments Latiff.

While the COVID-19 pandemic posed many challenges for the class of 2020, the EMSS teachers encouraged and supported learners throughout the lockdown period by providing study notes, support and video tutorials via WhatsApp. Grade 12 learners from all EMSS centres, apart from Fort Hare, resumed contact lessons in September 2020, all adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols.

“While Engen is extremely proud of all the 2020 matriculants, I must make special mention of and commend the incredible results attained by the EMSS’s top 2020 achievers.”

The top-national achiever, Kirsten Prins, who attended the EMSS programme in Cape Town and achieved an average of 93.5 percent. Prins plans to study Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch this year, and follow her dream of practicing in disadvantaged communities.

In joint second place were Lindiwe Trout-Naidoo and Thiyashan Pillay, who both attained over 90% averages.

Cape Town-based Trout-Naidoo is enrolled to study Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Town this year and follow her dream of qualifying as an actuary, while Durban-based Pillay is all set to study mechatronics engineering also at UCT.

In third place, Sibulele Solilo, a matriculant of Solomon Mahlangu Senior Secondary School in the Eastern Cape, achieved a 90% average.

Solilo plans to study Medicine at the University of Stellenbosch this year, and follow his dream of becoming a Forensic Pathologist.

In fourth place Kauthar Floris an alumnus of Claremont High School in Cape Town, Kauthar achieved 90% for Maths and 94% for Science and plans to study Medicine this year at the University of Stellenbosch.

“Starting off as Engen Saturday Schools, 33 years ago, EMSS is central to our efforts to contribute to the growth and transformation of the country,” says Latiff, adding that “the programme has worked tirelessly to help transform young lives, making a meaningful contribution to a more transformed and vibrant South African workforce.”

Latiff says Engen is also incredibly proud of the EMSS learners who completed matric in 2020 and persevered, despite extremely trying circumstances.

“Well done to all for showing grit and determination. It is our ultimate reward to help set these talented people up to pursue stimulating careers that won’t only benefit them personally, but also the broader macro economy of South Africa.

“Engen is therefore committed to building tomorrow’s leaders and if we want to ensure that the youth of tomorrow are prepared for a rapidly changing world, we need to ensure that they have the right mix of skills, for them to reach their full potential,” he concludes.