New Technologies Enhancing Mathematics Tuition in the Classroom.

Minister Donald Grant

Western Cape Minister of Education .

This morning I visited Rocklands High School to witness a demonstration on the use of ICT in enhancing mathematics tuition in the classroom.

Rocklands High School has received 24 new notebooks which have been fitted with software to support the mathematics curriculum. They have also been provided with a laptop trolley that charges the notebooks. The delivery of these new notebooks forms part of the WCED new Mathematics and Science strategy which aims to increase participation rates in Mathematics and Physical Sciences, increase the numbers of those passing these subjects in Grade 12, as well as improve the quality of passes at the Grade 12 level.

The cost of each notebook is approximately R3 000 – R5 000.

Rocklands High School has been making full use of the notebooks for a month. The notebooks allow learners to work through lesson plans themselves and, for instance, sketch graphs electronically when dealing with geometry. Rocklands High School is one of 48 Dinaledi Maths and Science schools who are to receive the mathematics notebooks and laptop trolley. Once roll-out is complete at the Dinaledi Schools the new technology will also be delivered to the 24 Maths and Science Incentive Schools.

In order to ensure effective roll-out, the WCED allocated 3 staff members to provide schools with technical ICT support in ensuring the equipment provided met the necessary technical specifications. In addition they assisted in the procurement process by ensuring the school made the best decision in selecting of technology required. At the end of the process the staff also played a quality assurance role to ensure the equipment procured was installed correctly and that the relevant technical specifications were met.

All Dinaledi schools have received their quotes and funding and only 9 schools are waiting for the delivery of their hardware. The remaining schools have either completed the process or are in the final stages of meeting the relevant technical specifications.

As one can see from our learners at Rocklands High School today, where the equipment has been received, learners and teachers are actively using the equipment.

I am pleased to see the implementation of ICT in our schools to enhance the delivery of the mathematics curriculum. Proficiency in mathematics forms the basis of many of our further education and training fields in science, technology, engineering and business – all key sectors for a growing economy such as ours.

Therefore, as a government, we are working hard to encourage more learners to take mathematics so that we can grow our future economic workforce and improve the life chances of our learners.

This programme is one of many focus areas within the Maths and Science strategy that will see schools receiving, amongst other things, additional resources such as those seen today.

Other focus areas of the strategy are on teacher development and support, as well as, monitoring and evaluation.

The WCED’s Maths and Science Strategy:

The strategy will be rolled out into the system and schools in stages. Grade 8 to Grade 12 learners in Dinaledi Schools (46) and Maths and Science Incentive Schools (24) are being targeted first.

The resource benefits of the strategy will be seen immediately in our schools. For instance, the Dinaledi Schools and Maths and Science Incentive Schools will receive a number of immediate resources and interventions such as textbook top-ups, computers, software and maths and science kits.

They will also benefit from the refurbishing of ICT and science laboratories.

I am especially excited about the training component of this programme.

Educators will be participating in various training programmes in specific content areas in mathematics and physical science. The content areas will be determined through an analysis of performance in the 2011 examinations.

Other schools will also benefit in terms of additional resources in the outer years of this strategy and schools that reach individual targets will receive additional funding for the purchasing of extra resources for their school as an incentive.

In the next five years the WCED will be investing approximately R113 million in this strategy, with R12.4 million being budgeted for the current financial year.

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