STEM Education in South Africa

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The UNICEF MEDO (NPC) project, designed to address the critical challenges in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, has been instrumental in successfully promoting STEM competencies among young South African learners, particularly in marginalised communities.

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STEM challenges in South Africa

In South Africa, the landscape of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education faces significant challenges, particularly in terms of accessibility and quality outcomes.

These challenges are most pronounced among marginalized groups, including girls and youth from low-income households. This situation contributes to a cycle of youth unemployment, inequality, and stifled economic growth, underscoring the need for urgent and effective interventions in the education system.

How is 21st Century involved?

21st Century has been in a partnership with MEDO for more than 15 years and prides itself on being a moral organisation with a social and environmental conscience. Supporting an organisation that nurturing the next generation of learners by providing education and skills aligns perfectly with our values as an organisation.

Your support can help us replicate and expand this successful program, reaching even more learners and educators.

A Collaborative Partnership

In a collaborative effort, UNICEF and the Meta Economic Development Organisation (MEDO) (NPC) have joined forces with various South African governmental departments, including those of Basic Education, Social Development, Health, and Science and Innovation.

This partnership aims to bolster the STEM education pipeline across the country, leveraging additional investments from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to expand our reach and impact.

Alignment with National Strategy

Our program aligns with the National Strategy for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (2019-2030), which aims to equip young learners with essential mathematics, science, and technology competencies, preparing them to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving world. Our initiative supports this national agenda, fostering a generation of learners well-versed in these critical areas.

Key highlights of the Programme

  • The programme has successfully engaged with 28 schools and trained 45 educators, focusing especially on rural and no-fee schools.
  • The program has empowered over ten thousand youth with hands-on STEM experiences, fostering critical thinking, innovation, and real-world problem-solving skills.
  • Our initiatives have been instrumental in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in education, gender equality, and sustainable communities.

How is the programme designed and implemented?

MEDO (NPC) plays a pivotal role in the design and implementation of this program. Utilising its innovative SDG modular electronics ecosystem, the program offers hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, engaging youth through a series of SDG Impact challenges that encourage them to explore and apply their STEM skills creatively and practically.

The provision of STEM Kits to learners and educators

Educators and learners are provided with specialised STEM kits that are curated to encourage maximum experimentation and hands-on learning.

The kits include a variety of electronic components and sensors that allow learners to construct their own connected mobile devices that are instrumental in studying environmental conditions and weather patterns. Learners can immerse themselves in the practical aspects of technology, including Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data concepts, and through this process, not only learn about electronics, but also develop solutions and products that have real-world applications.

Participants receive rewards and recognition for their achievements. This approach not only enhances their STEM proficiency but also instills a sense of accomplishment and motivation. These experiences are vital in nurturing the next generation of technicians and scientists.

Educator Training

The training of educators is a cornerstone of the project. Equipping and empowering educators with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources empowers them to inspire and guide the next generation of learners.

  • Many educators have been successfully trained with a focus on those teaching in rural and underprivileged “no-fee” schools. The Canvas Learning Management System provides accessible, in-depth resources on STEM and SDG challenges, experiments, and assignments.
  • Educators are also encouraged to complete UNICEF’s Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) training, enhancing their ability to support safe and respectful learning environments.
  • Upon completion, educators received certificates of achievement, recognizing their enhanced skills and commitment to STEM education.

How would your company benefit from being involved?

  • Fulfilment of BBBEE
    Socio-Economic Development (SED) Objectives:

    Your participation in this program can significantly contribute to your BBBEE scorecard under the Socio-Economic Development category – as all the beneficiaries match the requirements.

  • Brand Visibility and Reputation:

    Aligning with UNICEF, a globally recognized organization, enhances your brand’s visibility and reputation as a socially responsible entity.

  • Community Impact:

    Your contribution will directly impact young lives, particularly in under-served communities, fostering a generation of educated, skilled, and confident individuals.

  • Reporting and Accountability:

    We provide comprehensive reports on the program’s impact, ensuring transparency and accountability for your investment.

  • Mechanism:

    Should you wish to participate, MEDO (NPC) will issue a tax invoice for the value of your contribution. On payment, you will be issued with a certificate and proof of payment for your accreditation agency to accrue towards your scorecard.



We would love to discuss this opportunity further with you and explore how we can align our efforts with your organisation’s corporate social responsibility goals. To arrange a meeting or to receive more information, please contact either:

Programme manager:
Judi Sandrock

Chairman of MEDO (NPC),
& CEO of 21st Century:

Chris Blair