Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has urged pupils in Soweto to choose maths and science subjects to take up careers in the field.
This comes amid a proposal by her department last month to scrap maths as a compulsory promotional requirement in Grades 7, 8 and 9 in a move to make requirements consistent with those in Grades 10, 11 and 12.
Motshekga addressed a group of more than 500 pupils from high schools in Soweto on Monday as part of annual national science week at Soweto Science Centre, which resides within the University of Johannesburg (UJ) faculty of science.
“I always advise young people, when you have chosen maths and science, university courses don’t choose you; you choose them. With those two subjects, you can decide what you want to do. If you say you want to do medicine or engineering for example, they’ll say you can’t do that unless you have maths and science,” Motshekga told pupils.
“Every year when we announce our matric results, I interview the top learners. I ask them, how did it happen that you are the top Grade 12 learner? What is special about you? Not one of them has ever said ‘I’m gifted’ or ‘I’m very intelligent’.
“So anybody can do it, is what he was telling me. I’m appealing to you, be aware of the immense power you have in your hands as maths and science students. Don’t let go; use every opportunity you have. I was born down the road here in Soweto. I’m saying focus on the maths and science that will build your future,” she said.
UJ executive dean of the faculty of science, Professor Debra Meyer, was also among speakers who motivated pupils to consider a career in science.