“The annual Community of Practice (CoP) Forum on Mathematics and Science is an integrated approach to improve Mathematics and Science teaching and learning in schools. The training and development of teachers is required to transform classroom practice to improve overall results. Mathematics should be taught with a balanced approach – using sustainable research and practical solutions,” said Deputy Director-General for Curriculum Policy, Support and Monitoring, Dr Mamiki Maboya, during the CoP Forum.
The Forum took place at the DBE from 03 to 04 October 2018 under the theme: “Using Communities of Practice to Sustain the Professional Development of Mathematics and Science Subject Teachers”.
With basic Numeracy and Mathematics skills forming the foundation for inclusive economy, Mathematics and Science researchers and policy makers gathered to present the findings by the Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative (MECI) on the “Public Communication Learning Brief” on 03 October 2018. Lessons from the “Learning Brief” will be used to identify, design, and implement innovative solutions for improving Mathematics education in South Africa. Initiated and led by the FirstRand Foundation (FRF), in partnership with the National Research Foundation (NRF), the MECI is in its ninth year of implementation.
The MECI responds to the National Development Plan’s (NDP’s) call for partnerships to address social challenges in the Education Sector. University of Cape Town’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, explained: “When we started the programme, we had a long-term vision to strengthen Mathematics education by fostering collaboration between Government, the private sector, universities and other civil society organisations. We tapped into the intellectual resources at various universities, the social capital of the private sector and civil society to support Government in tackling the crisis of Mathematics education in the country”.
A panel discussion, led by researchers from various universities, Professors Hamsa Venkatakrishnan, Mellony Graven, Jill Adler and Cyril Julie, provided interesting views on the professional development of teachers. Dr Nick Taylor from Jet Education Services, emphasised the importance of Communities of Practice and peer learning commissions saying, "By appointing qualified people, the opportunity is created for passionate teachers to uplift other teachers for the whole school to improve its performance”.
The annual CoP Forum is jointly organised by the DBE, the FirstRand Foundation (FRF), the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC).