Science, Mathematics and technology Education Theme (SMATE Theme)

The theme focuses on Language and SMT education; improving teaching, learning and assessment in SMT; SMT literacy; Indigenous Knowledge systems and SMT education; Environmental education and Education for Sustainable Development; diffusion of and challenges pertaining to implementation of ICTs for teaching, learning and assessment in SMT Technology and Integrated Computer Technologies (ICTS-Computers) in education; Blended and Online learning; and Curriculum and Teacher Development in SMT education.


The mission and the purpose of the SMATE Unit are to:

Contribute towards improvement in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education in South Africa: The unit aims at providing research and developmental programmes to encourage and assist teachers to effect positive social and educational change in their immediate environments and spheres of influence through SMT teaching and learning.

Provide opportunities for staff at the Nelson Mandela University to become involved in research and development projects: The expertise of interested staff members will be channelled and supported within the unit to provide meaningful inputs into SMT education. This approach will facilitate and encourage engagement, developmental and research opportunities and, as such, should help to increase both research outputs and engagement activities.

Raise the community engagement and research profile of the Faculty: Members engage in projects in collaboration with schools, teachers, education departments, NGOs and funding bodies. These activities raise the community engagement profile of the Faculty and provide opportunities for both faculty members and students to become involved in research projects based on community engagement for higher degree and/or for publication purposes.


Alignment with vision and mission of Nelson Mandela University

The activities of the Unit contributes to the Nelson Mandela University vision of being a values-driven university optimising the potential of our education communities towards sustainable development by contributing to their transformation and development in terms of their SMTE needs. These activities also support the Nelson Mandela University’s mission to be an engaged university that serves the needs of its diverse communities and by providing academic and support staff access to research and community engagement projects. The work of the unit directly supports the Nelson Mandela University Institutional Research Theme – Science, Mathematics and Technology Education for Society.


Governance structures

The unit reports annually to the DVC (Research and Engagement) via the Dean and Faculty Board. Units are not required to have an advisory committee.



Contact information
Associate Prof Andre du Plessis
Associate Professor
Tel: 27 041 504 4033