Education: Anglo school projects ‘barely help’

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The R100 million Anglo American invested in education between 2010 and this year had hardly any impact, an independent researcher said on Friday. Niessan Besharati, who oversaw research into the subject, said the money went into projects such as building science laboratories, providing Saturday classes for pupils, winter schools, and teacher training programmes, among other things. “The positive effect… was too small to have much of an impact,” Besharati told a mining and education conference at the Wits School of Governance. The conference was discussing the impact Anglo had made in education in the communities where it mined. Besharati said Anglo had invested in several schools, mostly based within a 50km radius of its mines in the North West and Limpopo. It had hoped to improve pupils’ results in mathematics and science, especially in Grade 12. These were essential subjects for engineers, financial analysts and technical specialists, who could eventually be employed by the mining house. Research showed schools further away from the mines that were not included in the corporate social investment projects had performed better than those benefiting. Schools within the 50km radius had higher participation in maths and science, but their pass rates were 3.5 percent lower than those further away. – Sapa

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