Mathematics and Science Education under Spotlight

Mathematics and science education in South Africa will be scrutinised at the first Science Business Leadership Forum of the Academy of Science of South Africa’s (ASSAf) to be held on 30 November 2018 in Sandton.

The forum, facilitated by ASSAf President, Prof Jonathan Jansen, will address critical issues pertaining to the status and success of numerous interventions aimed at improving mathematics and science education in South African schools. Key successes that may be used as the basis for future interventions and to promote effective use of funding are to be discussed.

The level of mathematics and science achievement of secondary school learners in South Africa has been a major area of concern for a number of years. Grade 12 mathematics pass rates have been identified as stagnant by Umalusi, the quality assurance body for general and further education and training, while the World Economic Forum’s 2016 report ranked South Africa close to last in mathematics and science education quality for the third year in a row. The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2015 highlights that South Africa is one of the lower performers of the 39 participating countries. The country also fares worse than many considerably lower-income African countries.

In 2017, corporate social investment (CSI) was estimated at over R9 billion, compared to R1.5 billion 20 years ago. Despite significant investment from government, the private sector and civil society organisations for the improvement of mathematics and science education, South Africa still features at, or near the bottom of comparative assessments of science and mathematics performance.  

The forum will address the critical issues pertaining to the status and success of these interventions. While limited monitoring and evaluation of these interventions have been undertaken, the forum will focus on what has proved to be successful and how the private sector could contribute to and benefit from evidence-based research on investments in science and mathematics education. It will aim to identify key success factors that can be used as the basis for future interventions and to promote effective use of funding.

The forum, entitled Mathematics and Science Education Interventions in South Africa: What has Worked? will take place on 30 November 2018 in Sandton and will be attended by leadership in business and academia.

The forum will be sponsored by Investec.


The full programme can be accessed here.