In July 2006 ArcelorMittal South Africa together with the Gauteng Department of Education established the first ArcelorMittal Science Centre in Sebokeng in the Vaal Triangle region of Gauteng.
The Centre is equipped with ultra modern classrooms, laboratories, a state-of-the-art computer centre and interactive science centre, where learners can gain “hands on” knowledge of science under the guidance of highly skilled and experienced educators.
In 2006 the Sebokeng Science Centre accommodated learners from 12 schools focussing on grade 10 learners from district 8. In 2007 40 learners who were identified as best performers in Mathematics, Physical Science and Life Science were selected to join the ArcelorMittal Science Centre programme. The number of participating schools increased to 30 (15 grade 12 schools, 7 grade 11 schools and 8 grade 10 schools).
The Centre currently provides learner support to 43 schools and about 1 600 pupils per annum. To date, almost 30 teachers have had the opportunity to improve their overall knowledge and teaching methods.
Current indications show an improvement in learners’ performance as well as an increased interest in the sciences. Students from this centre achieved excellent results during 2009 and 2010. ArcelorMittal South Africa now has 104 engineering students in the pipeline (six of whom previously attended classes at the Science Centre). An additional 23 students from the Science Centre are being sponsored to attend the Vaal University of Technology in Vanderbijlpark undergoing Technician training at a cost of R1.2 million.
Approximately 30% of the students who attended the IT skills development classes have obtained employment.
The Sebokeng Science Centre consists of three main facilities namely the Science Centre, an exhibition hall and a mobile science laboratory.
Mobile Science Laboratory
A mobile science laboratory is used to reach large numbers of learners and school leavers in order to motivate them to choose science subjects and pursue science related careers. The mobile unit is also used to assist under-resourced schools that are not part of our schools programme through a winter school programme for grade 12 learners.
The Sebokeng Science Centre presents the following programmes:
The School programme is a state of the art programme aimed at assisting and supporting learners from grade 10 to12 to improve their performance in Mathematics and Science. Our facilities are well equipped and enable learners and educators to obtain practical experience in all aspects of the curriculum. Learners receive free transport from their respective schools to the Centre.
The Computer Community Development project
The Computer Community Development project is a community based programme aimed at empowering community members by providing them with computer skills. The programme, presented in conjunction with Evaton IT Solutions, provides basic computer skills training. Various courses are available e.g. Introduction to Computers, Microsoft Word (Beginners/Intermediate), Microsoft Excel (Beginners/Intermediate), PowerPoint (Beginners/Intermediate).
Early Childhood Development Programme
The Early Childhood Development Programme for lower level learners from Grade R to Grade 3 is aimed at assisting learners to develop literacy and numeracy skills at an early age and also to develop interest in Science and Mathematics at a young age. Learners from Grade R to Grade 3 from three primary schools in the Department of Education’s District 8 are involved in this project. Learners are assessed through tests and practical activities.
In conjunction with the Vaal University of Technology, career guidance is provided at the Science Centre to:
Assist learners to choose the right career.
Make learners aware of the opportunities available to them (study & employment).
Make learners aware about different requirements at different universities.
Provide learners with bursaries and scholarships information.
Get to know learners personalities, career goals, personal values and educational preference.
Assist learners to discover their own weaknesses and strengths.
Help learners to make decisions that affect their personal and academic development.
Provide psychometric testing to determine learners’ personality traits, abilities and subject preference.