(From left) Denver Dreyer, RCL President Sumaya Kizer, District Director Vui Cindy, RCL Deputy Rizwaan Adams and Gilbert Rambwa joined in the opening.

PHOTO: Zandile Khumalo, News24

  • The Gauteng Department of Education has partnered with technology firm Honeywell to launch the Futureshaper Lab at St Barnabas Special School.
  • The lab is a new robotics and coding education center.
  • This will help 200 students per year ddevelop coding and robotics skills.

A new robotics and coding education center has opened at St Barnabas Special School in Bosmont, Johannesburg.

The Futureshaper Lab was launched with the goal of developing the skills of 200 students each year through a curriculum focused on mathematics, science, and information and communication technology.

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Specialized teachers will teach lessons on certain days of the week after school for students interested in robotics and programming in grades 8-12.

Gauteng’s Department of Education partnered with international technology firm Honeywell to launch the centre.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi and Honeywell Sub-Saharan Africa President Denver Dreyer opened the center on Wednesday.

“Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is at the heart of our organization, so it makes sense that Honeywell is partnering with the department. I hope this partnership ensures that STEM is born in the hearts of young children.

“When children are exposed to the beauty and innovative magic of science, technology, engineering and math, it changes their lives forever. Engineers and technicians are changing the world for the better,” Dreyer said.

“My hope is that if we work with these kids, they will leave here changed and their outlook on life will change. They need to know that there are options and that they can learn, grow and develop in STEM,” Dreyer added.

He said the organization has the potential to provide opportunities for students to grow on an international platform.

“Scholarships are awarded to young students who want to continue their studies in the field of science and technology. We also have a separate program called the Honeywell Leadership Program where we take up to 10 kids a year, depending on global funding, and send them into space. camp in Alabama.

“At space camp, students will be exposed to astronauts, programming and coding, and when these kids come back, they will be significantly different,” Dreyer said.

The school choir sang in the school hall during the launch of the lab and many students beamed as they danced.

Gone are the days when students are taught meaningless and worthless things, Lesufi said.

“What we offer you today is a new world that will make you shine… A world that will make you relevant, that will change the history and economy of our country forever,” Lesufi told the students during the presentation.

He added:

I want to prepare you for work so that you can find it.

Lesufi said the department was proud of the other 17 specialist schools in Gauteng.

“Each school under my leadership in this particular province will specialize in some skills so that they can be part of our country’s economy.

“We were a nation of consumers. That era is ending with you. You are the generation that will create the economy for the country.”

The school’s principal, Gilbert Rambwa, said the lab was crucial because students would be able to build on more than just theory.

In addition to changing students’ thinking patterns, he said the lab will give them hands-on experience with robotics and information technology.

Paving the way for young minds

Nicola Sabzi, a third-year Bachelor of Education student at Rosebank College, attended the 2018 Honeywell Space Camp Leadership Program in Huntsville, Alabama.

“I was introduced to Honeywell when I was 17 years old and I went to space camp with the idea that I wasn’t the smartest student in the class and that for me to do science, robotics and programming; I thought I couldn’t do it.

“But I’m grateful that Honeywell gave me the chance to prove to myself that I can do it.”

Alumnus Nicola Subhi is interviewed

Nicola Sabzi, 21, attended the Honeywell Leadership Program Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama in 2018.

News24 Zandile Khumalo, News24

Panyaza Lesufi launched St Barnabas Mathematic

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaz Lesufi has opened St Barnabas’ Maths, Science and ICT specialist school with a focus on high technology and innovation. In partnership with Honeywell.

News24 Zandile Khumalo

Subie, who attended high school in Gauteng, said her school had no labs and that students were not exposed to the level of science offered at Honeywell, which she initially found overwhelming.

But she realized that people can learn and be better regardless of their background.

Year 12 students Boynila Molusi and Tinatenda Ndarimani developed Herity, an alert system for victims of gender-based violence disguised as an online retail platform.

Boinela Molusi and Tinatenda Ndarimani at school

Boinela Molusi and Tinatenda Ndarimani, both Year 12 students at St Barnabas Special School, developed a program called Herity to help victims of gender-based violence.

News24 PHOTO: Zandile Khumalo, News24

They noted that the new laboratory will greatly contribute to the preparation of schoolchildren for professions, as it will increase their technical savvy.

“The launch brought a positive atmosphere to the school and opened up a lot of opportunities, giving us the opportunity to go out into the real world and know how to use a computer to do basic tasks,” Molusi said.

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