Tellumat has joined forces with the Medical Research Council and the the University of the Western Cape's School of Science & Mathematics Education to expand the Khanyagula Expo science skills programme.
The Khanyagula programme (KHAyelitsha, NYAnga, GUguletu and LAnga) encourages high school learners and teachers from disadvantaged schools on the Cape Flats to develop projects for the Khanyagula Science Expo, in so doing developing scientific skills. The programme has attracted participation from traditionally science-shy Cape Flats schools since its inception.
In the course of 10 years, Tellumat has partnered with Telkom, the Shuttleworth Foundation and the MRC to co-fund the project, says Tellumat CEO Rasheed Hargey. During that period, the number of learners, projects and participating schools has steadily increased, with the number of schools and projects showing a marked increase this year.
Tellumat’s R124 200 sponsorship this year funds equipment for projects, assistance with research, transport to various research locations and the Khanyagula Expo, prizes, food and event organising for the Expo; registration for and costs associated with regional finals, upgrading of the project after the Expo, and registration for the national expo, air tickets and accommodation in Pretoria (including two educators).
Whatever remains is spent on participating schools for upgrading and improving their laboratory needs.
“Tellumat acknowledges its role in helping to build capacity for future scientific research,” says Hargey. “Teachers and learners generally experience great difficulty designing and carrying out authentic science investigations – a key requirement of the new outcomes-based science curriculum. It is our privilege to fund such an outstanding programme, to help build national skills and reinvest in research and development (R&D).”
The benefit for Tellumat is that it stands to gain critical skills from it for its own business. Like other companies throughout South Africa and the world, it finds science and technology skills hard to come by, and thus makes a much-needed corporate contribution to the national development of such skills, in partnership with government and non-governmental organisations.
In another sizeable contribution to skills-building, the company administers a R104 000-a-year bursary scheme, supporting dependents of employees and external students who might not otherwise be able to study at a tertiary institution. Since 2001, 25 bursaries have been awarded for diplomas and degrees in Commerce, Engineering, IT and Science.
Tellumat’s extensive initiatives in skills-building as well as research and development have increased its standing as an employer of choice in the hi-tech industry sector. It invests a high proportion of its R300 million annual turnover into R&D of products in the electronic manufacturing, telecoms and defence industries. Its products, including radio-frequency, GSM and satellite equipment, are used by highly tech-dependent organisations such as Telkom, the SANDF, Neotel and the SA Air Force.