April 2022.

Numeracy coach at William Pescod High School, Kimberley, Lihle Qomoyi, is doing more than just helping learners improve their math skills, she is tackling deep rooted and often negative prejudices learners have towards this essential subject. Added to this, her experience as a maths coach is what has inspired her to enrol for a Bachelor of Education, at a distant learning institution. Upon completing her studies, Lihle hopes to plough back her skills into the community of Kimberley to help further break down the perceptual barriers that is often holding back learner progress.

“A lot of the learners I have encountered are intimidated by Maths. Working for this programme has been great hands-on experience and I have since seen so much improvement from the learners. You often find that there are 45 to 50 learners in a classroom, so often learners go unnoticed, which is what makes the one-on-one sessions I have with them so important,” explained Lihle Qomoyi.

This 27-year-old first year student is one of 30 coaches, part of the Literacy and Numeracy Programme, which is funded by Droogfontein Solar Power in partnership with the Northern Cape Education Department. The programme was launched eight years ago to address key issues relating to foundation phase numeracy in Kimberley. Lihle is extremely passionate about the subject of Maths and is determined to change the negative attitude learners have towards it.

Through this programme, coaches are placed in schools in Riverton, Kimberley, Ritchie and Barkley West to provide much needed guidance to learners. It forms part of Solar Farms’ Socio-Economic Development Education Programme, which includes a focus on improving numerical understanding and creating a critical awareness of how mathematical relationships are used in social, environmental, cultural, and economic relations.

“A strong foundation in maths is essential to fostering qualities such as creativity, reasoning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. As a result, we are dedicated to stimulating learners’ interest in mathematics and to raising their performance levels. Ultimately, we hope to create a pool of STEM professionals who can contribute to our economy and the renewable energy industry,” explained Zuki Ndlela, Economic Development Specialist, Droogfontein Solar Power.

Lihle’s goal is to help those who are disadvantaged and make a difference in her community. “I have witnessed the difference in how disadvantaged learners are taught compared to learners who come from privileged backgrounds. There are some brilliant kids that get lost along the road and for that reason, I would like to stay in Kimberly to help close that gap,” she concluded.