AngloGold Ashanti's Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) programme started 12 years ago, as a result of the company's objective of ensuring that all employees are given the opportunity to become functionally literate. Since then, the group has trained more than 32,000 people at its facilities and this number continues to grow.
AngloGold Ashanti made available R10.4 million ($1.62 million) for the programme in the 2004 financial year. Although 96 classrooms have been built and equipped as part of the project, there are currently only 56 classrooms in use as a result of both the lack of demand from students themselves and the downscaling of operations. There are currently 60 teachers and facilitators, and 1,392 students (173 full time and 1,219 part-time). Pass rates have been good: among employees studying full-time the pass rate was 92.5% and among employees who are doing ABET part-time, this was 74.7% during 2004.
By the time an employee reaches ABET level 3, he or she is able to engage in a range of English speaking and listening interactions; use reading and writing skills effectively; solve realistic and abstract problems involving changing quantities by addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; construct and use tables and graphs to organise and interpret information; work with a variety of numbers and their relationships; and solve problems involving measurement, perimeter, area, volume and time.
Part-time ABET students are incentivised by the company, and are paid an amount of money that is linked to the level of ABET training that they successfully complete. Full-time ABET courses, which are generally for candidates who have been identified for career advancement, are run over a period of 10 weeks, and part-time courses over six months. Facilitators are recruited from the local community, either on a full-time or part-time basis. Unemployed facilitators with a grade 12, plus an education certificate (those who do not have a formal qualification are offered opportunities to embark on the Mining Qualification Authority (MQA) learnership) are eligible to teach and in-house training is also available for these facilitators.
The South African Mining Charter (developed in terms of the MPRDA in pursuit of the transformation of the South African mining industry) requires that all employees are offered the opportunity to become functionally literate by 2005. 72% of all employees have obtained an ABET qualification, and 45% of these employees having an ABET level 3 and above qualification. ABET level 4 (or NQF1) was introduced in January 2004 after a pilot project was conducted in 2003. It is an Introductory Certificate for the Mining and Minerals Sector qualification.
Marketing initiatives such as literacy days and certificate ceremonies are arranged by various business units to promote ABET, and the company is also currently embarking on a strategy to supply and market ABET classes to the communities in which it operates, to ensure optimum utilisation of the resources and to increase literacy levels amongst potential employees as well.
AngloGold Ashanti's ABET programme, developed in-house, bases its curriculum on the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) unit standards and aligns itself with relevant Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs). AngloGold Ashanti ABET centres are ISO 9001 certified, a requirement for accreditation by the MQA, as a training provider.
Making a difference in people's lives
Elphas Gumbi, originally from Swaziland, is a stoper at Great Noligwa Mine. He joined the mine in 1994 at the age of 31 and completed the ABET 3 course in 1995 and did the Intermediate Mining Certificate (IMC) in 1996. He then enrolled for his Blasting Certificate at the Learner Miner Training Centre and completed his training in 1997.
He says that being a stoper is very challenging with a lot of competition. According to him, anybody can strive to be a miner, but one must have certain abilities like problem-solving and decision-making skills.
|Above ABET 4||24%|
|ABET 3 and above||45%|
|ABET 2 and above||60%|
|ABET 1 and above||72%
Current literacy levels - SA Region: all employees