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The Eskom Foundation has concluded a province-wide competition run by the provincial Department of Education in partnership with the Kagiso Trust. The competition included high school learners that have achieved 50% and above in mathematics.

These students are rewarded based their on conceptual knowledge, the application of knowledge in new situations, problem-solving, reasoning, communication and creative thinking.

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Maths wizards from high schools in the Free State were generously rewarded for their efforts following a province-wide competition sponsored by the Eskom Development Foundation. The finals of the Free State Mathematics Festival were held at the Bon Hotel in Bloemfontein on 11 and 12 October. Some 300 participants from grades 8 to 11 entered the final rounds following a competition that involved learners from schools across the province. 

The sponsorship by the Eskom Development Foundation is in line with its commitment to support various educational and development initiatives designed to have a beneficial impact on society. 

Learners performing at 50% and above in mathematics were selected to participate in the competition which is in its fourth year.

It starts within individual schools and then expands through cluster and district levels before reaching the provincial finals. The top performers are selected in each round with eliminations occurring as it progresses. 

At the cluster level, the number of participants was whittled down to 3,500 learners from 71,240. The learners were then cut down to 1,250 for the third round (district level) and only 300 made it to the fourth and final provincial round which was held over the two days. 

The questions are based on Grade 8 -11 work and beyond. The winners of each Grade received a range of prizes, which included Maths kits for their schools, smartphones, tablets, vouchers, power banks and cash vouchers.

Competition winners

The winners were Caitlin Rossouw (Grade 8) from Eunice Girls High School, Lize Ferreira (Grade 9) from Eunice Girls High School, Wian Botma (Grade 10) from Hoër Landbouskool Jacobsdal (Landboudal) and Amkitha Diko (Grade 11) from Springfontein High School. 

The overall winner of the competition, Wian Botma from Hoer Landbouskool Jacobsdal (Landboudal) in Xhariep District, took home a smartphone, laptop, printer, a power bank, an Oxford Maths Dictionary, a R2000 shopping voucher, Maths kit for his school, a gold medal, a certificate and a floating trophy. 

Overall winners from each grade (quantile 1-3 and quantile 4-5) will also travel to Cape Town as part of their prize. 

The MEC for Education in the Free State, Dr Tate Makgoe, congratulated and encouraged the learners to dream big and work hard as they will one day reap the rewards. “We are all immensely proud of the achievements of each and every participant in this competition” Dr Makgoe said. 

Eskom Development Foundation CEO, Mr Cecil Ramonotsi, stressed how proud the Eskom Foundation is to have played a pivotal role for the last two decades in a wide range of social and economic development initiatives which are intended to have a beneficial impact on society. 

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The sponsorship by Eskom demonstrates its commitment to bringing about meaningful change and sustainable development in South Africa. Eskom is also involved in other similar initiatives that empower young people such as the Simama Ranta School Entrepreneurship Competition, SciMathsUs and the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists (EEYS). Ramonotsi pointed out that none of the national goals to grow the economy, create jobs and opportunities, reduce poverty and create a more equitable society can be achieved without sustained investment in power generation. 

“However, as an organisation, we also believe that investment in physical infrastructure must be accompanied by investment in human resources. If we are unable to produce the next generation of engineers, artisans, inventors, physicists and mathematicians we will not be able to design the road, build the bridges, maintain the water infrastructure and generate the electricity that will help to keep the wheels of our economy turning,” stated Ramonotsi. 

Ramonotsi explained that the funding of this programme is part of Eskom’s commitment to bringing about meaningful and sustainable development in all communities: "Exposure to mathematics, science, technology, innovation and engineering activities is critical in equipping youngsters with the tools they will need in order to contribute positively to our country’s economy."