South African mathematics and science educators are often criticised for poor performance in their subject matter and, as a result, high school learners struggle to pass the subjects satisfactory.
The Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), aims to address this challenge by providing a Saturday school intervention programme which will be composed of a team of subject specialist and advisees in the fields of Mathematics and Science.
In 2015, JIAS was established through a partnership with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, in a quest to bring together the foremost researchers, intellectual leaders and experts from Asia and Africa to develop innovative ways of integrating African and Asian thought and research. This partnership was renewed with the signing of a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University’s JIAS and NTU on Monday, 20 March 2017.
At the signing, the President of NTU, Prof Bertil Andersson announced his personal contribution of R200 000 towards the Mathematics and Sciences high school training programme initiative. These funds will be placed into the Bertil Anderson Trust. JIAS plans to augment the funds by adding R10 000 per annum for the next five years. The Trust will be administered by UJ.
“The commitment of Prof Anderson, ensures that, over and above the tuition, participating learners from historically-disadvantaged surrounding schools, will not only have access to the Institute’s entire infrastructure, including internet, but also expose them to a variety of teaching skills and methods to enhance the level of learning and understanding,” says Prof Peter Vale, Director of JIAS.
Prof Vale pointed out that there is no doubt that the country needs serious intervention strategies that could strengthen mentorship, support and guidance in curriculum implementation at secondary school level, especially at Grade 11. “The training programme will not only encourages the learners to do well in matric, but it will also prepare them for the challenges of higher education. “University lecturers and tutors have noticed that some learners are not well prepared academically when they enter university. Through innovative science, computer training, practical experiments etc, JIAS is ideally poised to play an important role in this nation-building effort.”
The Mathematics and Science programme will start in the second semester of 2017.