The Science, Engineering, Technology and Health (SETH) academy has been rolled out at the Ferdinand Postma High School in Potchefstroom and will help the training of future engineers from 2013, while they are still at school.

A shortage of technical, engineering and technology skills is threatening the future economic growth of South Africa. Due to the urgency of this situation and in answer to the crisis, the North-West University (NWU) has piloted the SETH Programme.

The NWU expects that the SETH-Academy will contribute to the following strategic objectives:

  • To increase the output of engineering graduates by at least 30%;
  •  To increase cohort throughput from 65% to 80% with 60% completing in four years; and
  •  To increase the number of graduates from previously disadvantaged groups and to increase the percentage of female graduates to 30%.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Department of Education and the NWU and the programme will start in 2013 with an intake of Grade eight learners.

Each year another grade will be added, so that in five years, the school will be offering SETH classes on all levels. The learners will follow the normal school curriculum, but will also be given extra classes in SETH subjects. In the afternoon they will take part in an enrichment programme at the university, where they will implement the theory they have learnt in a practical manner.

The collaboration from industry is an important part of the programme and will ensure that the learners are mentored. The North-West Department of Basic Education is also a valuable partner to the project.

The private sector is cordially invited to contact the NWU for more information, or if they want to be involved in this interesting initiative.