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Public-to-Public Partnership is key to Advancing Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education - published 13 Mar 2023

Public-to-Public Partnership is key to Advancing Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Quality Education

The impressive Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology Academy: School of Innovation and Leadership in La Mercy, north of Durban, developed by Coega.



Gqeberha, South Africa, 13 March 2023 - The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZN DOE) are proud to share the success of their Public–Public Partnership (P2P) in the provision of digital technology learning solutions and tools for the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learners at the Anton Lembede Mathematics, Sciences and Technology: School of Innovation and Leadership Academy.

Coega, as a state-owned entity (SOE), is in collaboration with the KZN DOE as a trusted implementing agent for infrastructure projects in the advancement of STEM education. The P2P partnership is also in line with the South Africa National Development Plan (NDP Vision 2030) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which focuses on education and aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

Learners from the Anton Lembede MST Academy in a smart classroom

The Honourable Senzo Mchunu, a former Provincial Education MEC and currently the Minister of Water and Sanitation, developed the vision for this method of learning with a focus on nurturing inquisitive and science-literate minds. According to the Anton Lembede MST Academy Principal, Mr. Dumisani Sibiya, “We require experts in Science and Technology to solve many of the issues we encounter as a country. Hence, the institution was established with the notion that it should be a technologically advanced institution that helps students become tech savvy while they are still in High School.”

The intervention includes the provision of learning content through devices, as traditional classrooms limited teachers’ use of multimedia instructional materials. With the smart digital education solutions approach, the Academy has been able to offer wired and wireless networks, internet services, computers for teachers and students, as well as computer labs, managed print services, access control, interactive smart classrooms, projectors, non-reflective interactive whiteboards in classrooms to replace traditional green chalk boards including visual aid learning.

“The provision of the digital technology learning tools initiative, which commenced with a pilot phase of Grade 8 learners to ensure that the programme was properly embedded has since expanded to include Grade 9 and 10 and we anticipate having a full complement by 2025. This initiative benefits both learners and teachers because our teaching strategy is project-based learning, which necessitates a lot of research. Learners are engaged with finding solutions; hence, the digital technology is useful in enhancing both learning and teaching because it makes it simple for students to conduct research and generate new ideas since we are an innovative hub,” adds Mr. Sibiya.

The partnership was formed pre-COVID-19, and as such, the Academy was better equipped to deal with the challenges of the pandemic. The operations carried on as usual and teachers continued to interact with students remotely because the institution was digitally empowered.

The Academy strives to be at the forefront of digital education innovation in the KZN region, by applying a hybrid teaching model that combines online and offline teaching to overcome barriers to learning. With the help of smart education solutions, teachers can turn regular lessons into virtual labs using teaching materials and software to conduct virtual experiments.

Coega and KZN DOE perceived Maths and Science as crucial for the future of learning and working, particularly in the ‘4IR’ context. According to Coega Technologies and Consulting, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has widely been hailed as an opportunity for South Africa to unlock new opportunities and improve economic growth. The demand for sophisticated Engineering skills (Science, Maths, Technology) is a critical component of 4IR, and SA will require more graduates with these skills to take part in the technological transformation.”

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