Tronox Donates to South Africa School to Support Math and Science InitiativesMay 17, 2021 - Insights
When it opened in 1977, Weston High School was one of the first intermediary schools in Vredenburg—near our Namakwa Sands smelter—for underserved communities in the surrounding areas. In 2016, the school transitioned from an intermediary school to become the only technical school on the West Coast of South Africa, offering electrical, mechanical and civil engineering subjects beginning in Grade 8. There has long been a need to enhance and develop learners’ interest in math and science, and Weston High School prioritized this need with the fundamental objective of improving the quality of STEM education.
For more than two decades—since Tronox began operating in the area—the company has played a vital role in making such initiatives a success by investing in weekend and holiday classes at the school, including winter and summer schools. Last year’s corporate social investment (CSI) donation of R200,000 (nearly US$14,000) enabled the school to pay for its School Governing Body (SGB) posts.
“At Tronox, we remain committed to encouraging learners from our community-based schools to choose mathematics and science as subjects of choice,” said Nozuko Basson, Regional Manager, Communities and Corporate Affairs. “Since the 90s, we have made significant investments in math and science programs at the school, and we are proud to partner with our local schools to create an enabling environment for both the learners and teachers who fill the SGB posts that purely focus on teaching math and science and now, mechanical technology.”
In 2021, Weston High School introduced civil technology as a subject choice for Grade 8 students. This prepares learners for the programs in Grades 10 to 12 curriculum, which forms part of the National Departments Occupational initiative.
“Our vision is that more learners can take not only civil technology but also mechanical technology from Grade 8 to better prepare them for Grade 10 and beyond,” said Elvin Vraagom, Weston High School principal. “At Weston High School, we drive the technical subjects due to the economic development on the West Coast and feel that if we develop our learners in these fields, they will be equipped to qualify for technical occupations once completing high school.”
Tronox supports that vision, and as a company, we believe that it is our responsibility to create value for all stakeholders.
“This is one of our core values, and we are proud that. Regardless of the challenges faced in 2020 and the days lost in the curriculum due to COVID-19, the school still managed to achieve 77% pass rate for math and a 100% pass rate for science,” Nozuko said.