Mathematics is the key to unlocking both the natural and economic wealth of this world, said Deputy Minister of Education Mosibudi Mangena at the Sowetan, Telkom, Protec Mathematics and Science Teacher of the Year Awards.
He said strategies to attract pupils to maths and science were crucial to the country’s success in developing its human resources.
“If we are to move forward in increasing learner attainment in mathematics and science in our schools, we must have the type of teachers who can dispel the myths about, and promote interest in and love of, mathematics and science in their schools,” he said. In June this year the department launched a strategy to increase learner participation and performance in maths, science and information communication technology.
The strategy aims to: upgrade unqualified and under-qualified maths and science teachers presently in service; explore ways of utilising retired or unemployed qualified maths and science teachers or those who have taken severance packages; find ways of co-operating with other governments in training and upgrading our maths and science teachers; recruit matriculants with good passes in maths and science to train as teachers; work with universities and technikons in advancing this process; and implement the 102 maths, science and technology-dedicated schools projects.
“Therefore, by recognising and rewarding both the teachers who are still in service and those who have retired, the sponsors are playing a vital role in assisting government to succeed in meeting the goals of our strategy,” he said.
Mangena said the success of the strategy rests squarely upon the shoulders of the teachers. “Government, parents and the private sector can provide resources to improve conditions in the learning environment. But it is the teachers who must ensure that they complete the syllabus on which the children will be tested at the end of the year. More importantly they are the ones who must lay the foundation which prepares the learners to become successful students and researchers at higher education.”
- The Teacher/M&G Media, Johannesburg, December 2001.