Change the world

SMATE UNIT (Science, Mathematics &Technology Education)

The Family Maths and Family Science programme was developed as a subset of the Equals Programme in the United States of America to redress inequalities perceived in the schooling system, particularly inequalities in terms of race and gender.  The programme provides support for the transformative education practices targeted by the South African National Department of Education. This support extends beyond the school walls to the community at large by offering a creative education practices reaching teachers, parents, learners and community members.

During 2008 the Family Maths and Family Science programmes were combined for the first time as we believe that this will result in a strengthened and enriched programme for teachers, learners and parents. Much of the first quarter of 2008 was devoted to the design and development of the curriculum and teaching and learning aids for this new programme, a process in which we involved our partners from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW).

In Port Elizabeth a two-year Family Maths and Science pilot programme was implemented at the beginning of the second quarter 2008 for approximately 50 Foundation Phase teachers from ten disadvantaged schools in the Missionvale area in Port Elizabeth. A year long programme was implemented in two schools in the Sedgefield area of the southern Cape for fifteen teachers. Teachers from East London schools who, for various reasons, had been unable to complete the Family Maths training course offered in 2007, were given the opportunity of attending workshops which they had missed. This has enabled a further eight teachers to receive certificates for successfully completing the course.

The Family Maths and Science programme aims at bringing not only interested, but also the often ‘hard to reach’, parents and guardians into the school community and into the educational lives of the children in their care. Recent research studies have revealed how the project has not only impacted on participating teachers’ classroom practice, but also has promoted understandings of how the intervention helps develop communities of learning in schools.

Working together to solve problems

Contact information
Dr Pam Austin
Senior Lecturer
Tel: 27 41 504 4360
pamela.austin@mandela.ac.za