You are at the right place to make your dreams come true. This was the message to 100 new students who embarked on their 2021 SciMathUS journey at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Monday, 15 March.
The SciMathUS programme forms part of a variety of units within the Faculty of Education at SU and specifically in the Centre for Pedagogy (SUNCEP). The programme annually offers 100 learners, who have already passed Grade 12, but do not qualify for higher education selection, a second opportunity to improve their NSC results in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Accounting to enable them to re-apply for university programmes, specifically those focusing on STEM related fields.
Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, told the new cohort that even though they're at the right place, there is a but... "YOU have to take control of your own destiny. The SciMathUS staff – and their colleagues in SUNCEP and elsewhere at the University – are there to teach you and mentor you and help and support you – but you have to do the work. I have no doubt you will do your best."
He added: “Our top student from last year's SciMathUS class, Thabo Mthombeni, said it best in an interview: 'Work hard, work smart. Sit down every day and study. Know what your dream is. After the year at SciMathUS, Thabo scored 91% for Mathematics and 98% for Physical Sciences. That will open any door! "
In her address to the Class of 2021 and their parents, Nokwanda Siyengo, Director of SciMathUS, said that her team is looking forward to a year of achievement. "Let me tell you that in 2020 the average for Mathematics was 71.2% while Physical Sciences was 75.9%. This then means that you as group need to keep this level of performance or even go above it."
Quoting American thought leader, Christian D Larson, she said: "Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside that is greater than any obstacle that you may face."
Siyengo added that the students' success is central to the mission at SciMathUS. "Please reach out to us whenever you have questions. We are here to support you every step of the way in this journey that you are starting today."
SciMathus celebrates 20th year of changing lives this year, and continues to produce success stories, commented Siyengo. Since 2001, many SciMathUS students have succeeded to obtain university degrees in medicine, engineering, science and business studies.
The 20-year celebrations will among others take the form of an online campaign, called #ChangingLives. The aim is to make sure that the programme, with support from all stakeholders, continues to create even more opportunities for students to reach their full academic potential over the next 20 years.
Please follow SciMathUS' social media pages over the next few months, where the spotlight will shine on the programme as well as alumni who have since graduated and made great strides in their respective fields.