Itumeleng Molefi

After graduating from WITS University with a BSc degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics and an honours degree in Physics, Itumeleng Molefi was determined to pursue a career in teaching. He joined TEACH South Africa in 2014 and through the Northern Cape Department of Education was placed at Carnarvon High School where he taught grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 physical science. The school is situated approximately 80km away from the SKA (Square kilometer Array) Project – one of the largest radio telescopes with a square kilometer of collecting area.

Molefi explains, “There are so many opportunities for young people from this area in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and innovation as a result of the SKA project. They only need to put in the work. This is easier said than done because of the difficult socio-economic issues they have to deal with.” In 2015, the Square Kilometer Array South Africa (SKA SA) committed to giving full bursaries for undergraduate studies to five matric learners from Carnarvon High School who obtained matric exemptions in the 2015 National Senior Certificate examination. Molefi was determined to help his students achieve these bursaries and committed his time to giving extra science lessons and support to ensure his learners were prepared. The 5 learners, all from Carnarvon High School have been awarded full bursaries and are set to continue their studies in science related fields and were supported at high school level through bursaries from SKA SA’s Human Capital Development Programme.

Molefi could not contain his pride: “Some of the learners come from extremely challenging backgrounds and it is only through their own perseverance and determination that they have succeeded. We worked very hard and I am happy to see that they now have the chance to attend university because of their own efforts,” says Molefi. Sam Rametse, Outreach Officer SKA says “Itumeleng is an exceptional human being. He is a Physics graduate- the world is his oyster- and yet he chooses to teach in rural South Africa. Since Itumeleng joined Carnarvon High School, the Grade 12 science performance has increased drastically and his enthusiasm has rubbed off on each person he has come into contact with. He is absolutely committed to changing the face of education in South Africa- a real change agent in our country and inspiration to many” Molefi completed his 2-year TEACH ambassadorship and has subsequently been offered a 3 year teaching contract by SKA to continue teaching science at Carnarvon. 57% of TEACH Ambassadors remain in the profession after their two year TEACH Ambassadorship.

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