With the start of the new school year, Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) journey to
ignite a love for science and mathematics
among 1 600 intermediate phase learners, is in full swing.
Initiated in January 2017, the Mathematics and Science Primary School Project is a joint initiative between TNPA and the Johannesburg-based maths and science education company, SCIMAT Education and Disposals.
A Level one B-BBEE company, SCIMAT focuses on teacher and pupil development through equipment provision, practical training workshops and school-based support within the mathematics and science fields.
As with TNPA’s original adopted schools programme for high schools, this intermediate phase programme derives its essence from the National Ports Act of 2005, which enables the Authority to collaborate with educational institutions in conjunction with the Department of Education.
Aimed at grade 4 to 7 pupils and teachers, the primary school programme originated when TNPA recognised a gap in the academic structure between primary and secondary school learners.
The programme will directly impact 200 young minds at each of the eight schools.
TNPA Corporate Social Investment Manager, Shadi Montjane said: “Feedback and consultation with high school educators revealed the need to create affinity for Mathematics and Physical Science at the foundation phase in order to create a solid foundation on which to build on later.
“At the moment, the majority of academic interventions are at high school or tertiary level and it is often too late for those who lack a basic understanding of fundamental concepts in Mathematics and Physical Science. Thus, TNPA has taken upon its shoulder to close that gap and play its part in planting that seed in our future leaders,” she added.
Eight primary schools from across the Western and Eastern Cape were identified by TNPA’s Corporate Social Investment team last year, and received mobile science lab sets consisting of all the necessary equipment to conduct practical experiments in real time, as well as mathematic manipulative that allow learners to perform practical work in mathematics.
These eight schools serve as feeder schools to TNPA’s adopted secondary institutions which teach pure mathematics and science. These subjects are key components for students seeking marine related careers beyond school. The adoption process is expected to last between 3 and 5 years, per school.
TNPA began rolling out the project in February 2017, hosting joint week-long workshops with the aid of SCIMAT employees, in which three teachers from each school were given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new equipment before utilising the mobile science equipment in the 2017 school year.
On 22 and 23 January 2018, Port Elizabeth schools Enqileni Senior Primary School and Young Park Primary School became the latest – and final – recipients of the training and equipment.
Feedback about the project from teachers has been overwhelming. Based on the workshops forms, teachers feel both the equipment and the additional training will help them improve the teaching of these essential subjects at primary school level.
Young Park Primary’s principal Jeremy Langeveld said the introduction of the programme into a school where the majority of the pupils came from disadvantaged homes, has the potential to lead to life-changing experiences for these future leaders.
“We are so happy and very grateful to TNPA for this much-needed initiative. This kind of exposure to mathematics and science is needed to set these learners on a level on which they can compete with any school in the country. Our learners will now be in a position to experience the practical part of these subjects, no longer simply sitting, listening to the teacher, but now becoming actively involved in the learning process. That is what they enjoy and we hope that this will help them develop a greater love for these subjects,” he added.
Mrs Nzube, principal of the Enqileni Primary School in Motherwell said, “This will really assist the teachers who are teaching maths and physical science. They have been struggling for a very long time to clearly demonstrate the curriculum to the learners.”
The primary schools adopted by TNPA in the Western and Eastern Cape are:
- Mossel Bay’s Imekhaya Primary School and Isalathiso Primary School
- Soyisile Primary School in Khayelitsha,
- Vredenburg’s Masiphathisane Primary School,
- East London’s Masibulele Public Primary School and St Lukes Primary School
- Enqileni Senior Primary School in Motherwell Port Elizabeth, and
- Young Park Primary School in Ditchling Port Elizabeth.
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