Mathematics Educators finish their training at UWC

On 17 May 2014, more than 60 Mathematics teachers from different areas in the Western Cape received certificates for completing their Maths4Stats training at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in Statistics.

The Maths4Stats programme is a joint project meant to address teacher skills shortages in the Western Cape, with StatsSA, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) and the Statistics and Population Studies Department at UWC coming together to make this venture possible.  Training sessions were presented for the third consecutive year, and, teachers had to attend weekly training sessions spread over two months to qualify for their certification.

Professor Renette Blignaut,  Associate Professor and Deputy Chairperson of UWC’s Statistics Department at the Faculty of Natural Sciences,explained that the training covered content related to Statistics topics which were incorporated into the CAPS Mathematics Grades 10 to 12 curricula from 2012.  Topics taught included probability and regression and correlation.

“Teachers were educated on how to use SAS Curriculum Pathways, a free online training application for learners and teachers with a variety of teaching modes.  SuperCross, a specialized computer application provided by StatsSA was demonstrated to show teachers how to extract information from census databases,” said Prof Blignaut.

In keeping with the Maths4Stats ethos, Prof Blignaut presented a few statistics about the teachers. Of 56 teachers who completed their survey forms: 46% were women; they ranged in age from 24 to 59 years old (with a mean age of 40); 13% had no formal maths or stats training; and 62% had four or more years of training.

She stressed the collaborative nature of the programme, and thanked sponsors for their input, saying: “Demonstrations on the latest calculator functions were conducted by representatives from Casio and Sharp. One of the sponsors, namely Sharp, provided funding to pay students who acted as tutors during the training sessions.  Without this combined effort the training would not have been possible.’

Majiet Parker, Principal and Maths teacher at Joe Slovo Engineering School in Khayelitsha, said the training had enriched his knowledge and understanding of Mathematics. “The things we learned here were not in my degree when I was still studying, and I will carry it to my pupils. And I will show them one can never stop learning”

Khunjulwa Mtaki, Maths teacher at Siphamandla High School said that for a long time she was not comfortable with doing other equations in class. Usually I would spend hours staring at the textbook and wasted a lot of time discussing traditional equations with the pupils,” she remarked, but after the training she would be able to pass on her mathematical knowledge with confidence in the classroom.

Charles Smith, Senior Curriculum Planner for Mathematics, said the Western Cape Education Department realises they cannot reach all teachers with training and crafting the curriculum for training, but they would provide support in making the courses possible.

“We seriously hope the training has empowered these teachers to deliver in the classroom, and we would like to also extend our appreciation to the University of the Western Cape for taking time out to teach our educators,” he concluded.