We must be grateful that the inflow to the dams providing Cape Town’s water was “normal” for weeks 21 to 27, dam levels hitting 44% at the end of June, 59% by mid-August and 74.2% on 25 September. An improvement on 2016 and a great improvement on 2017. But please don’t stop saving – again Peter Flower’s “the time to save water is when you have it”.
In this space in Newsletter 2/2018 I noted the enthusiasm of our younger committee members in running the water and bridge building competitions for our school learners – role models encouraging the study of civil engineering instead of all wanting to be accountants or doctors.
But for learners to entertain any hope of studying engineering they need to achieve high standards in mathematics, a growing problem. Our Branch Lecture/Meeting of 20 June (Deon Pretorius on neglected Libyan Infrastructure, reported elsewhere) turned into a double header with Sibonelo Nongcula, accompanied by Kristen Thompson, of NGO Numeric demonstrating the need for an organisation such as theirs, teaching/coaching mathematics for learners from Gr 7 (diagram below: only 3% of starters end with a maths mark appropriate to an engineering career):
Also, Annual National Assessments (standardised national assessments for languages and mathematics in grades 7 – 9 (senior) and grades 4 – 6 (intermediate) and in literacy and numeracy for grades 1 – 3) showed very poor results – for Gr 9 the mark achieved was only 11%! Numeric show that at the start in Gr 7, on average their students made up 3/10 of the top 10 (schools where they are active – in Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Mitchell’s Plain and Soweto) – but it converts to 10/10 in the end. They not only teach learners, but mentor aspirant teachers, thereby spreading the “germ” a great deal wider than would otherwise be the case. Sibonelo@numeric.org. See also their website