As the fourth industrial revolution becomes reality on a global scale, the need for learners to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects has never been more important.
According to STEMblogSA, this revolution will create more jobs than technology displaces, but STEM skills will be more critical than ever, given that between 65% and 85% of jobs that will exist in the future, currently do not exist.
STEM subjects don’t just equip learners with know-how about how jobs in the future will work, it teaches them critical and creative thinking to navigate this space.
In South Africa, the importance of STEM education is vital. The country lags behind a lot of other nations in the world in equipping its youth with STEM knowledge; in 2019, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked the quality of South Africa’s Maths and Science education last out of 148 countries.
This shortfall has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is accelerating the need for digital transformation across corporate, government, education and non-profit organisations across the country.
The virus and the resultant national lockdown have made this year for school learners the most challenging of their lives. For most of the school year, learners (with access to digital resources) have had to take lessons remotely, submit exams and essays from home and – perhaps most important of all – have not been able to socialise with their friends from school.
It’s for this reason Cell C has partnered with youth development company Primestars and its YouthStart Foundation as part of the #SavingTheClassOf2020 project, which is geared towards helping under-resourced learners across South Africa, prepare for their final exams.
They plan to collaborate with Cell C participating as the digital partner to the Matric Maths and Science Revision programme, named eduCate. Cell C has also zero-rated an online platform specifically created for the project.
“Under-resourced public schools are bearing the brunt of the pandemic, and by not coming to their assistance, we are exacerbating inequality,” says Martin Sweet, MD of Primestars.
“Our educational system needs help teaching problem solving, critical thinking and creativity,” he says. “As the Private Tutor to public education utilizing cinemas at theatres of learning, we are reinventing education to provide the skills necessary to create a more prosperous and inclusive future for all.”
eduCate covers the entire matric Math and Science curriculum and the weekly cinema lessons are simultaneously broadcast to 17 digitized cinemas across the country, over 10 weeks.
Learners also interact with subject experts who are available at each venue to address questions from the learners. Each learner receives a revision textbook as well.