MSLA Kimberley: Developing Leaders for a Brighter & Greener South Africa
21 June 2019
Established in Kimberley, Northern Cape, in 2006, The Maths and Science Leadership Academy enables high school learners from disadvantaged backgrounds to thrive in these core subjects through afternoon classes and holiday academies.
The long term outcome of MSLA is to “Develop leaders for a brighter and greener South Africa.” To do this, they strive to increase the number of learners equipped to undertake higher education in fields like Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Accountancy and other skilled professional fields.
From Humble Origins to Proven Results
MSLA started from very humble beginnings without many resources, and while they remain quite a small organisation, their track record is fantastic. Since 2010, 100% of MSLA learners have matriculated, and in turn, 89% of these learners have achieved a university-worthy pass.
It’s their passion and drive to make a positive difference in South Africa that has seen them go from strength to strength.
“We try to inspire children to have a passion for maths and science.” Says MSLA Founder Anne Maclean in this interview. “We provide them with on-going academic support so that they can access STEMI related careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation).”
“They can then go on to grow the knowledge economy of the province, and also to be the hope of their families.”
From the Class of 2013 to the Class of 2018, 100 students from schools in Kimberley are studying in engineering fields at tertiary institutions. The vast majority are 1st generation students at university.
The Answer Series and MSLA: A Relationship of Support
Martie Venter from MSLA tells us that at the beginning, they scouted the best teachers they could find to teach the classes. These teachers though, also had to prepare their own lesson materials as well as homework from scratch.
“We soon realised we needed a textbook with notes and exercises.” Says Martie, and in 2014 Founder Anne Maclean found The Answer Series and reached out to Dave and Anne Eadie, our co-founders.
“Dave and Anne’s generous willingness to let us have the books at a huge discount was absolutely mind boggling.” Martie enthuses, “We’ve been using The Answer Series study guides ever since.”
Practice Makes Perfect
We asked Martie to explain how our study guides work for MSLA teachers and learners. “The curriculum is well covered and in each module there are sufficient exercises for learners to practise.” She tells us.
“When doing their homework the learners are able to mark their work and try and figure out where they went wrong.”
When Anne Eadie wrote the very first Answer Series study guide over 40 years ago, she was certain that the answers had to be included, in order to allow the learner to correct their own work and grow their skills.
It’s an ideal that MSLA has also bought into since the relationship began. “Initially, we asked that the answers should not be included with the questions, however, we realised that integrity and honesty are virtues that should be instilled.” Explains Martie. “Learners who follow the honest route get the opportunity during the next lesson to ask the teacher to explain the problems they struggled with.”
The Madibas of Tomorrow
Building life skills as well as academic ability is a key aim of MSLA, and The Answer Series study guides also have a subtle role to play in this. “Often the teacher asks a learner with the correct answer from the study guide to come and explain on the board. In this way, their communication skills are developed and they lose their fear of addressing people.”
“It is not enough to merely raise the level of academic achievement if we are to grow tomorrow’s leaders. MSLA therefore focuses on the holistic development of our youth and provides them with novel opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to be successful in the 21st century and to see themselves as the leaders of tomorrow - the tomorrow’s Madibas - who are knowledgeable about global challenges and who have the values, desire and passion to work towards the future this world wants.”