Despite what has been described as a “failure” in the past, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has highlighted the progress made in developing the teaching and learning of maths, science and technology as a result of its Dinaledi school project.
In a written parliamentary response, the Department for Basic Education (DBE) says 485 schools have been supplied with subject-specific computer hardware and related software as part of the project.
The DBE also indicates that tools, machinery, equipment and consumables for technology subjects in 232 technical and agricultural schools have been repaired, maintained and/or replaced in accordance with minimum specifications.
The DBE says: “1,256 public school laboratories have been provided with equipment and consumables for maths, science and technology subjects to minimum specifications, including coding and robotics kits.”
Dinaledi Schools, established in 2005, was established in line with the DBE’s National Education Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology with the aim of increasing pass scores in Mathematics and Science in selected public schools.
More than 500 educational institutions have been designated Dinaledi schools across SA.
The main aim is to support schools to significantly increase student participation and performance in maths and science, and ultimately increase the number of students entering engineering and ICT.
According to the DBE, following a review in 2015, it was decided to combine the Dinaledi grant for schools and the conditional grant for the recapitalization of secondary technical schools.
The move led to the introduction of the Maths, Science and Technology Conditional Scholarship to further increase the number of students studying maths, science and technology subjects, improve subject achievement and improve teacher training.
In terms of student support, the department says 50,000 students are registered to participate in maths, science and technology Olympiads/fairs/exhibitions and other events based on a structured annual calendar.
In terms of teacher support, the DBE indicates that 1,500 participants have received specific structured training and orientation for teachers and subject advisors on CAPS subject content and teaching methods for Electrical, Civil and Mechanical Technology, Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.
It concluded that 1,000 teachers and subject advisors also received targeted and structured training in teaching methodology and subject content in Mathematics, Physics, Life, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Technology, Computer Application Technology, Information Technology, Agricultural Management and technologies.