SITFE supports a wide range of programmes ranging from the school support programme; study assistance programme; in-whole school support programme; early childhood development programme; and an education centre development programme. These programmes are implemented in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning, educators and communities within the sugarcane growing communities.
The study assistance programme continues to enjoy significant industry and external stakeholder support and recognition. This programme is regarded as the sugar industry’s flagship programme and key mechanism to assist government to redress inequalities in the field of science, agriculture and engineering.
SITFE is proud to include amongst its alumni a number of South Africa’s prominent leaders including Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Bonginkosi “Blade” Nzimande; Judge President of the Western Cape, John Hlophe and KZN MEC of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo. Treasurer-General of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize and his wife Dr May Mashego also received assistance from SITFE for their high school education.
The objective of the programme is to increase the number of high potential learners from disadvantaged backgrounds with access to quality education and training in the field of agriculture, science and engineering at tertiary institutions. SITFE awards a maximum of 41 full bursaries on an annual basis.
There are 16 University bursaries provided to students on a merit or non-merit basis.
There are 11 University of Technicon bursaries provided to students on a needs basis.
There are 8 Cedara and Owen Sithole College of Agriculture bursaries provided to students on a need basis.
There are 6 bursaries provided to children of farm workers who can study any field of study.
During 2012-2014 SITFE invested R290 000 towards the Engineering Stepping Initiative (ESI) programme implemented by Tshwane University of Technology, in the Mpumalanga province. The ESI is Tshwane University of Technology’s key programme, which stems from a need identified by the institution to improve the poor pass rate of Grade 12 learners, particularly in Mathematics and Physical Sciences. The intense 9 months programme aims to prepare the learners to re-write the Department of Education’s exams to enable these learners to realise their potential to enter higher education.
SITFE also invested R476 000 during 2012-2014 towards a post-matric programme in KwaZulu-Natal. The Midlands Community College has been implementing the Maths, Science, and Technology Recovery (MST Recovery) project since 1999 to assist learners from disadvantaged schools to improve their results and to assist these learners to re-write the Department of Education’s exam to gain entry to tertiary education. This residential programme accommodates 60 learners annually and is based in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Strategic Plan 2011-2014 of the Department of Basic Education also prioritises the improvement of the quality of teaching and learning in Output 1. The sub-outputs focus on the improvement of teacher capacity and practice, and increasing access to high quality learning materials.
This output targets the greatest challenges facing education in rural areas. SITFE commits resources to projects that provide teacher and learner support to improve content knowledge and pedagogy.
SITFE supported the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME) to implement a range of interventions to build the capacity of educators. The programmes target teachers from ten rural schools within the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. The aim of this programme is to improve both subject content knowledge and teaching methods of teachers in maths and science.
SITFE also supported the Midlands Community College to implement the Maths, Science and English Integrated intervention programme. The programme target grade 11 and grade 12 learners from same ten rural schools as the CASME programme above, and aim to provide additional educational support to the disadvantaged learners. The learner support programme compliments the CASME teacher development programme, and this two way intervention intends to maximise the impact on the learners in the Midlands area.
SITFE also invested R1 million for 2017-2019 with PROTEC Tongaat, a non-profit organisation that specialises in maths, science and technology education for grade 10 to grade 12 learners. PROTEC provides educational support to learners from socially and academically disadvantaged backgrounds in the form of maths and science lessons, career days, technology and International Computer Driving Learners licence (ICDL) computer workshops.
The project is to implement a learner excellence programme to 24 learners which involves, Saturday school classes (tuition in math, physics, English and world of work), Vacation School workshops, Technical Workshops which involve the practical application of math and science, Participation in school projects such as Math Olympiad, SAICE bridge building and Work Exposure Initiatives such as site visits, career days, job shadowing.
PROTEC also implements a Grade 9 Intervention Programme to 40 learners through Saturday School classes (tuition in English and math). To enable/facilitate 30 learners to obtain an internationally recognised computing certificate each (ICDL).
Under the Career Development: Keeping girls in school project, SITFE invested R1.4 million towards career engagement and learning to 3000 female learners per year, over three years, in the sugar cane produced districts; Ugu, Harry Gwala and UMkhanyakude on career subject choices and awareness. To build capacity of Grade 9 female learners to make sound choices regarding their careers. To encourage female learners to choose careers in fields which were once dubbed male only careers. To improve the understanding of the impact that career choices have on the learners’ future.
The Department of Basic Education’s Strategic Plan 2011-2015 prioritises Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Output 3, focusing on universal access to grade R and improvement of the quality of ECD through improving the capacity of teachers. Research indicates that the period from birth to seven years hosts rapid growth physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and morally and as such it is crucial for literacy and numeracy development.
In responding to this priority, SITFE has committed approximately R3 million to a four year partnership pilot programme with TREE, a specialist ECD organisation, to implement an integrated ECD programme in Pongola rural areas. This programme comprises of three sub-programmes – the Playgroup programme which reaches children that are not able to access an ECD site, the ECD Site Management programme which focuses on developing the skills of rural ECD site managers who are mostly elderly women, and the Advocacy programme which supports interactions among ECD stakeholders, including civil society, government and business, to address bottlenecks in delivering quality ECD to all children.
TREE has successfully completed year two of this three year programme and lessons learnt are already improving other ECD programmes within the province. The following programmes are implemented:
SITFE has also committed R1.2 million during 2017-2019 for the Unlimited Child ECD programme. To support 96 ECD’s Centres: 32 per annum through Capacity Building 192 Practitioners (64 per annum): foundational knowledge of early childhood education and solid understanding on practical implementation of the learning programme including manuals providing structured curricular to be implemented over school calendar year. Each of 96 ECD centres will receive a comprehensive educational resource kit linked to lessons and activities within curriculum.
SITFE also partnered with the RCL Foods Early Childhood Development Mpumalanga: Nkomazi “Leave no Young Child Behind” Initiative. To support 27 ECD’s Centres with Capacity Building of Practitioners: Introductory One Year Course on Early Childhood Development completed by Practitioners of the 27 ECD Centres. Each of 27 ECD centres will receive a comprehensive resource kit twice for two years. Each of the 27 ECD centres will become members of the Toy Library and benefit by exchange of toys. Each of the 27 ECD centres will participate in an Enrichment Programme. Prioritised ECD centres will receive infrastructural improvements.
The sugar industry is committed to creating a lasting, positive legacy in the communities in which it operates, not only by providing employment opportunities but also by supporting initiatives that help to create a healthy and sustainable social fabric. It is also committed to creating strategic partnerships with government and relevant stakeholders.
SITFE, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education and MIET Africa had collaborated on a programme to establish an education centre in the Pongola area. SITFE has committed R4 million towards an education centre programme that will:
SITFE partnered with Illovo Sugar and the Department of Education to implement the Izingolweni Education Centre Science Laboratory. From 2017-2018, and investment of R500 000 was initiated to support with the acquisition of science laboratory equipment based on needs to enable the laboratory to be developed into a fully-fledged science and maths support centre.
The Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education (SITFE) was launched in 1965 as a private sector initiative and is regarded as one of the oldest Trust Funds in South Africa. The mission of SITFE is to support, promote and advance sustainable, quality education in South African sugarcane growing areas.