Learners in South African schools generally dread taking mathematics and science because they think the two subjects are difficult. This perception is confirmed by a 2018 Business Tech report that found that when it comes to maths and science, South Africa’s performance is among the worst in the world.
This prompted Ms Pleasure Ntsime, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) employee and an Honours in Strategic Communications student to embark on a sustainability project that seeks to empower and encourage high school learners to choose maths and science for their senior certificate studies. Through the University’s Community Engagement Office and support of Classroom Buddies, she organised a Maths and Science Subject Choice Campaign at Africa House College on Saturday, 13 July 2019. During the campaign, Ms Ntsime established that the learners at Africa House College were struggling with maths and science due to inadequate resources at their college. Also, from the 96 learners (Grade 9 to 11) that attended the seminar, only one was able to explain what the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) was.
Among the topics discussed at the workshop was why choose maths and science after Grade 9, the cause of lack of interest in the two subjects, the role of 4IR in maths and science as well as maths literacy versus pure maths and career options.
During the project campaign, the learners were addressed by Mr Patrick Monama, Lecturer: Chemical Science Department at UJ and Acting Senior Manager of the Soweto Science Centre together with Dr Pauline Ntsime, Lecturer and Deputy Head of Department: Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at UJ.
Africa House College does not have a laboratory and most students have never been inside a laboratory, and as a result are invited to attend the National Science Week scheduled for 29 July 2019 at the UJ’s Soweto campus. A laboratory tour for the school is to be organised later this year.
Due to the interest received at the event and online, Ms Ntsime has decided to take the campaign further by organising a roadshow in and around Johannesburg.
“One of the pillars that the Nelson Mandela Day is anchored on is Education and Literacy. I am supporting this pillar because it speaks to what I am passionate about. I wish to help the next generation to be better prepared to lead through knowledge and skills,” she says
“My project came at a better time when we participate in the annual Mandela Day this month. I will be at Thethe Primary school in Luka village in Rustenburg to promote this same idea – providing learners with information about access to higher education institutions.”
The project was also part of her qualification requirements to conduct a sustainability project based on one of the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this project, she is advocating for the SDG number 4, which focuses on providing quality education for all and the vision that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, become educated.
Anyone interested in taking part in the campaign may contact Ms Ntsime on firstname.lastname@example.org.