UWC launches a Maths and Science teacher development programme to improve Maths & Science results in schools
“Maths and Science education is of absolute importance to our country – but we can only get the best results if we have the best teachers,” said Provincial Minister of Education, Debbie Schafer. “And for this we need better education for the educators - which is why the Western Cape Department of Education welcomes programmes such as this.”
Shafer was speaking at the launch of the University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) Maths and Science Teacher Development programme on 23 October 2017, run by UWC’s Science Learning Centre for Africa and Faculty of Education, together with Standard Bank.
Professor Shaheed Hartley, Director of the Science Learning Centre for Africa (SLCA), has run a programme for science educators called Facilitating the Teaching and Learning of Natural Sciences in the Eastern Cape since 2010.
“Because of the successes achieved by this programme - as measured by learner results and teacher competence - the Eastern Cape Education Department requested that we take on a new cohort of science educators,” he said.
The new programme consists of a full qualification called the Advanced Diploma in Science Education and address issues of content knowledge, pedagogical strategies, and practical and experimental skills in the teaching of Natural Sciences in the Senior Phase.
With the generous financial backing of Standard Bank, the programme is now able to empower more teachers in the Eastern, Northern and Western Cape provinces.
“Science results in the province have improved since the implementation of the programme,” Hartley said. “Thanks to Standard Bank we will now empower 50 more teachers in the province.”
Professor Cyril Julie from UWC’s Faculty of Education has conducted research in the Northern and Western Cape (the Cape Peninsula, Winelands and Namakwa regions).
“With better teaching practices, the performance of pupils is elevated,” he said .”The aim of the Mathematics programme is to provide top quality mathematics education to school pupils - and now more will be done to improve test and exam results in the provinces.”
UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, said that helping underprivileged school pupils attain the best Maths and Science education is the ultimate goal.
“South Africa is in a time of change,” Stafford Bomester of UWC’s Donor Relations unit observed. “We need to celebrate our education, development and human spirit by joining with organizations who share the same purpose of moving the country forward through hope, action and knowledge.”
“Through partnership, we can change school education for the better,” Prof Pretorius said, “and then we can change the world for the better.”