Photo supplied by the Sasol Foundation

A group of Mpumalanga teachers has had the opportunity to train as master teachers for Robotics and Coding, courtesy of Sasol. The Sasol Foundation has also donated multimedia resources for teachers and pupils in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

An amount of R40-million was allocated by the Mpumalanga Provincial Government for the 2020/21 financial year in support of the Youth Development Fund, which was seeded the previous year with funding of R10-million.

The Mpumalanga Regional Training Trust (MRTT) is a Section 21 company with several sites in the province, including a Hospitality and Tourism Academy at Karino outside Nelspruit. The trust’s construction-training facility is accredited as a Construction Centre of Excellence. The Southern African Wildlife College is located near the Orpen Gate on the edge of the Kruger National Park.

A public-private partnership, MRTT intends increasing graduate numbers and is aiming for 50 000 young people to be trained in courses such as plumbing, painting, electrical, bricklaying and plastering in the three years to 2023.

A provincial bursary scheme has assisted more than 3 334 students who are studying in fields such as medicine, veterinary science, information technology, aviation, education and engineering. The artisan development programme in partnership with Hydra Arc is progressing well, with Sasol having committed to taking on all qualified apprentices from the academy in Secunda.

The University of Mpumalanga enrolled 3 220 students in 2019, a marked increase on quiet beginnings in 2014 when the university started life with 167 students. The university has added bachelor’s degrees in arts and commerce to its initial offering of academic courses in education and agriculture and a diploma in hospitality. Geology will soon be offered as part of a BSc. The main campus is at Mbombela with satellites at Siyabuswa (a former education college) and KaNyamazane, which hosts hospitality studies.

Mpumalanga has three Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges, with an enrolment of over 36 000. UNISA, the Tshwane University of Technology and the Vaal University of Technology also have satellite campuses in the province.

A sixth rural boarding school, Thaba Chweu Boarding School in the Ehlanzeni District, has opened and a further six are due for construction. These schools make access to education easier for rural children who would otherwise have to travel long distances.