LEAP Schools partnership (2016)
LEAP schools provide student-centred mathematical and science-focused education to economically disadvantaged students from grades 8 to 12. They focus on enabling the self-awareness necessary for each student’s growth to healthy adulthood, and to ensuring optimal academic results which will allow for choices for lifelong learning and a fulfilling future. Through discussions with Herman Meyer, MtM identified that LEAP would be a worthwhile social engagement partner for MtM. In the first instance, MtM staff and post-graduate students gave support for UCT Open day in May 2016 by visiting the LEAP School in Langa prior to the event.
In addition, MtM is engaged with the LEAP School in Langa on an electronic-waste recycling project. In this project, grade 9 learners at LEAP learn about the three R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle) with a focus on electronic waste generated in their homes and school. The grade 9 class is required to complete a recycling project in their CAPS curriculum: the electronic-waste recycling project teaches value creation from waste and introduces the idea of sustainable metal resource management by pointing out the need to exploit secondary resources. The project is run using design-thinking methodologies to encourage learners to take ownership of the electronic-waste problems in their communities and then come up with ways to solve the problems. To this end, MtM hosted a design - workshop with the assistance of the UCT d-school programme managers, and organised a 3D printing workshop where the learners and their mentors were taught 3D printing and learnt of possible entrepreneurial and product design opportunities. Learners will be guided by their mentors into adopting the design-thinking approach to problem solving as they tackle their electronic-waste recycling project. The engagement with LEAP School goes far beyond the recycling project: it exposes the learners to the different career opportunities that they see their mentors building towards, and breaks the barriers between some perceptions they have of their communities and possibilities of access to UCT as a tertiary institution of choice.