SAP strengthens ties with German Ministry of Education and Research

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, visited SAP’s Woodmead offices in Johannesburg to find out more about the work that was being undertaken to support maths, science and technology skills development in South Africa during the German-South African Year of Science 2012/2013

Johannesburg, South AfricaGerman Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, visited SAP offices in Woodmead, Johannesburg today to receive first-hand understanding of what the German-headquartered business software and solutions giant is doing in support of science, maths and technology skills development in South Africa. The visit took place under the auspices of the German-South African Year of Science 2012/13, which was launched by Minister Schavan and former South African Minister for Science and Technology Naledi Pandor during April 2012 in Cape Town.

Germany and South Africa have cooperated closely in joint research projects since 1996. Both countries are committed to research and development in a true spirit of partnership and mutual exchange in order to overcome the global challenges. The German-South African Year of Science focuses on climate change, human capital development, bio-economics, urbanisation/megacities, astronomy, health innovation, and humanities and social sciences.

During this four-day trip, Minister Schavan and her delegation will visit various institutions and companies in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. In addition to political meetings with high-level South African government representatives, this visit places particular emphasis on innovative business, vocational education and training as well as non-governmental organisations with a specific focus on science and education. The 2013 visit marks Minister Schavan’s third visit to South Africa.

SAP was able to showcase a multiplicity of initiatives that demonstrate support of science, maths and technology using programmes that were undertaken through the SAP Next Business and Technology division, the SAP University Alliances programme and the SAP Academy of Education.

Addressing the high-powered delegation, SAP Africa CEO Pfungwa Serima highlighted that SAP’s corporate social responsibility strategy focused on youth entrepreneurship, workforce development, science, technology and maths. Serima said: “We understand that the aim of the German Government’s strategy for Africa is to capitalise on the potential inherent in opportunities for cooperation in a spirit of partnership for the benefit of the people of Germany and Africa.” Serima continued that the impact of many of SAP‘s programmes are aligned to this vision.

SAP is a significant contributor to major science centres across South Africa. Support normally entails funding and volunteer activities during the SAP Month of Service every October. An example of the impact was highlighted in 2012 when more than 200 000 learners benefited from science and mathematics education programmes at the SAP auditorium located in the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg. Overall SAP’s efforts have meant that more than 1.5 million learners across South Africa have been given access to science and maths education through different science centres in 2012 alone.

In another effort in support of vocational education and training, SAP recently funded the construction of the ICT Academy building at CIDA University – a free university which offers education to the most disadvantaged Africans on the continent. In addition to the funding, SAP also provides an SAP Business One software certification programme to students through a blended learning experience. In 2012, the students achieved a remarkable 100% pass rate and have since been in demand with SAP partners and customers.

According to German Ambassador to South Africa, Horst Freitag, “South Africa and Germany share a strategic partnership and our societies enjoy a special bond of friendship. In this 21st century, we are facing new challenges: globalisation, climate change, job creation, and poverty eradication, for example, will have an impact on the economic and security environment and on our way of life. In today’s world, our countries must stand together to meet these challenges and to ensure that our shared values of democracy and freedom will prevail. The German-South African Year of Science is a prime example of such a sustainable cooperation.”

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