University assists schools with mathematics

A university maths tutor has launched a support programme that will assist high school learners in bridging the gap between secondary and tertiary level mathematics.

During his visits to schools around Johannesburg, Gavin Robinson and his colleagues noticed that there were inconsistencies in the content being offered and decided to do something about it.

“We decided that something needed to be done to develop mathematics for school learners and so the University of Johannesburg Maths Advancement Programme (UJ MAP) was born, with the main focus being on improved matric results,” says Robinson.

“We have created a maths workbook for grades 11 and 12 that covers all the bases of the curriculum. It has been endorsed by the department of education and now we can be certain that there is uniformity at all the schools that use our programme.”

UJ MAP is an inclusive programme. Schools are consulted on which areas their students need support in and the project facilitators devise a specific work plan to address these issues. UJ tutors and lecturers are also assigned to schools to assist learners who may experience difficulties with the subject content and provide enrichment of course material, making it an overall positive experience for the learner.

There is a cost involved for learners who want to sign up for the programme, which offers 36 hours of contact lessons for the duration of the school year, but Robinson says negotiations are underway to secure sponsorship for underprivileged schools.

Robinson says this initiative prepares schools, learners and matriculants for the preliminary and final exams and to help these candidates to obtain university entrance.

“This intervention comes in light of the results of a number of international surveys that rated South Africa very low when it came to maths proficiency. The project aspires to make an impact on the educational system by establishing contacts with schools and enriching the community through cooperation,” he says.

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