eThekwini to host maths, sci-tech indaba

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretoria - The eThekwini Municipality, in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, will host a Mathematics, Science and Technology Indaba in an effort to attract learners to careers in these fields.

The three-day indaba, to be held at JL Dube Stadium in Inanda, will focus on primary and secondary schools in the Inanda, Ntuzuma and Kwa Mashu (INK) area.

Head of Skills Development in the municipality, Gugu Mji, said South Africa faced a huge shortage of skills in these critical fields.

"The shortage severely affects both private and public sectors and the economic growth of the country. Over several years, the municipality's Skills Development Unit and INK have partnered with the Department of Education in support of maths, science and technical programmes for Grades 10 to 12.

"These have included teacher curriculum support workshops and learner excellence programmes that have yielded positive results in the schools around the INK area," said Mji.

Mji added that with this indaba, the partnership was extending its support to Grades 5 - 9 as a short term intervention, with medium to long term plans to establish a Mathematics and Science Centre.

The indaba will hold a competition among participating schools to showcase their knowledge of the sciences and various institutions, while FET colleges and municipal technical departments will exhibit educational programmes and career opportunities.

"We want to raise general interest in the benefits of Science and Technology. The Indaba is part of our vision for creating home grown scientists who will use their skills for the benefit of their own communities," said Mji.

The indaba comes ahead of the National Maths and Science Indaba to be held in June.

On Wednesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the department would convene an indaba in June with key education stakeholders involved in the teaching of these subjects.

Motshekga also raised concern at the poor quality of passes in Maths and Science, adding that the focus would now fall on these subjects as well as technology.

"To improve both the quality and quantity of passes in Maths and Science, we are implementing a new national strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. It reinforces the Dinaledi Schools programme, which has received a conditional grant of R99.7 million for 2012/13," Motshekga said.