The implementation of the Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Conditional Grant in the Basic Education Sector has made tremendous progress in terms of improving the MST participation and success rate in public schools.
The Grant was initiated in 2015 to provide support and resources to MST schools in line with the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for the improvement of MST teaching and learning at selected public schools. During the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, more than 1000 MST schools were supported through the assistance of the Provincial Education Departments (PEDs). As part of the revised list submitted by the PEDs, more than 1, 067 schools have been identified to benefit from the 2018/19 – 2020/21 financial years.
The Project Manager for MST, Ms Elspeth Khembo, said that, “according to the 2018 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination results, the sector has achieved the targets set in the Mid-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for attainment of a national average mark of 50%, as 64 646 and 46 233 candidates achieved above the 50% threshold in Mathematics and Physical Sciences, respectively. The general trend since 2008 has allowed the Physical Sciences target to be exceeded, while the system got close to achieving the Mathematics target”.
Ms Khembo also reported: “In the previous financial year, more than 419 schools were supplied with Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) resources such as laptops, tablets and software for Maths, Science and Technology to support curriculum and teaching methodologies at the Further Education and Training (FET) band. As one of the DBE’s initiatives aimed at increasing learner participation in Maths, more than 224,601 learners were funded to participate in Maths and Science Olympiads including coaching and revision camps to improve learner preparedness for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations. A total of 15, 526 teachers were also trained in pedagogic content knowledge in MST subjects during the 2018/19 financial period”.
Ms Khembo further applauded the sector for having registered a general increase in learner participation across all the MST subjects, especially since Technical Schools were writing their first Grade 12 papers in specialisations and Technical Mathematics and Sciences.