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CUT STEM Academy Celebrates Charlotte Maxeke



CUT STEM Academy Celebrates Charlotte Maxeke

CUT STEM Academy Celebrates Charlotte Maxeke. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects are often viewed as challenging yet crucial for unlocking opportunities, particularly in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

On 27 August 2023, the Central University of Technology STEM Academy, in collaboration with the Free State Department of Education, organized the Charlotte Maxeke Lecture to honor her legacy and celebrate women in STEM. The lecture aimed to promote STEM subjects, enhance performance, retention, participation, and throughput rates in primary and secondary schools.

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The Demand for STEM Education

There is a growing demand for students in STEM fields, but unfortunately, this demand has not been met by a proportional increase in the supply of matriculants interested in or adequately prepared for STEM careers. This disparity is a significant concern, as South Africa continues to face challenges in its school education system, particularly in STEM participation.

Inspiring Women in STEM

Professor Muthoni Masinde, Head of the Department of Information Technology at the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment, and Information Technology, shared her experience as a woman in STEM for over 20 years. She emphasized that with commitment, dedication, focus, and hard work, balancing family, studies, and work is achievable for women. Prof. Masinde highlighted the importance of support systems and coping mechanisms for women pursuing careers in STEM.

Empowering the Next Generation

Dr. Marinkie Madiope, Campus Principal at the Distance and e-Learning Campus (South Campus), University of the Free State, stressed the need to reinforce basic mathematical and scientific knowledge and skills among educators. She emphasized the importance of re-teaching misunderstood concepts, analyzing questions after assessments, providing constructive feedback, and encouraging learners to learn from their mistakes.

Charlotte Maxeke Enduring Legacy

As the event celebrated women in honor of Charlotte Maxeke, speakers highlighted the values she instilled and the lessons her life continues to teach. The focus on empowering women and youth with STEM education reflects a commitment to not only honoring Maxeke’s legacy but also ensuring sustainable growth and competitiveness in a changing global context.

A Testament to Resilience and Determination

Lieutenant Colonel Phetogo Molawa, a Helicopter Instructor at the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), shared her inspiring journey from humble beginnings in Thaba Nchu to becoming a helicopter pilot. Despite facing challenges in a male-dominated environment, Lieutenant Colonel Molawa’s determination and drive to succeed serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for young girls aspiring to pursue careers in STEM.


The CUT STEM Academy’s Charlotte Maxeke Lecture serves as a testament to the importance of promoting women in STEM and inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders. Through events like these, the legacy of Charlotte Maxeke continues to inspire and empower women and girls to pursue their dreams in STEM fields.

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