Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

2 August 2013

Namibia: De Duine Whizzkids On Top of Mathematics

Prosperity challenges other companies to support maths

A small group of exceedingly gifted learners at the De Duine Secondary School in Walvis Bay do not tremble at the thought of sitting for this year's final Grade 12 papers in Mathematics. These children started in Grade 10 with the Master Maths programme, and through their diligence, have endured up to their Grade 12 year. This programme is sponsored by the Prosperity Group as part of its Healing Hands initiative.

"The candidates sponsored by Prosperity Group's Healing Hands initiative for Master Maths are doing well" said Director of Development for the Prosperity Group, Johan Struwig.

Under this programme, the eight most promising De Duine students are receiving additional tutoring in mathematics and science.

Said Struwig, "Healing Hands was launched to provide special care for medical cases which would not qualify for assistance due to the circumstances of the beneficiary. It has excelled at that. The choice of assistance to the Master Maths candidates fell outside of the Group's guidelines, but we felt that it was particularly worthy on various levels, so we added it to the list of causes that we support."

"We are aware of the critical need for maths and science to develop a future for Namibia. It is also one of the needs and goals identified in Vision 2030, and we associate with that in a number of ways, especially health. The decision to support the learners of De Duine was driven by the understanding that development of these skills at secondary level gives a jump start to the beneficiaries, and will ripple out into Namibia and the community of Walvis Bay."

"The opportunity came to us through Nico van Rooyen and Elthea Fourie of Master Maths who identified promising individuals in the community who lacked the financial means to attend extra tuition. We were grateful for the opportunity to be able to step in and help out," he continued.

"We started out with twenty learners in Grade 10" Struwig explained. "Some of these did not enter into the Grade 11 programme, so we provided N$40,000 to support eleven learners in 2012. The remaining eight in 2013 will receive support to the value of N$80,000."

"We have high hopes for the remaining Grade 12s, at least one of which is that some of them might enter the medical profession. If they attend universities or other tertiary training and enter the market with professional qualifications or contribute to the industry, we believe that the Prosperity Group will have made a difference."

Asked about how the benefits could be extended, Struwig said, "There are several ways in which the programme can be extended. We challenge the industry to find and support maths and science initiatives, particularly at secondary school level where it is most critical. Without the basis of good performance in maths and physics, tertiary development of these skills will be limited. We also challenge industry to support the most promising candidates in their aspirations for tertiary education. Master Maths in Walvis Bay will assist companies who want to make contact with the candidates with a view to financial support for tertiary education."

"We also want to bring this to the attention of our members" Struwig said. "Our commitment is to the health of Namibia, for generations to come. As members of the various Prosperity funds, each member has made a small contribution to a better future. Although the contribution may be a few dollars annually, together our members are making a difference."

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