This article is more than 1 month old ‘Maths anxiety’ causing fear and despair in children as young as six

"Children as young as six feel fear, rage and despair as a result of “mathematics anxiety”, a condition which can cause physical symptoms and behaviour problems in class, according to a study.

Pupils in both primary and secondary school can find themselves locked in a cycle of despair, suffering from anxiety which harms their maths performance, which in turn leads to increased anxiety.

Researchers say maths anxiety should be treated as a “real concern” because of the damage it does to a child’s learning. They also point out it may be contributing to a growing maths crisis in the UK, where the level of adult numeracy is relatively low and getting worse."

Read the article in Mail and Guardian

Mathematics outcomes in South African schools: What are the facts? What should be done?

“South Africa is significantly underperforming in education, particularly mathematics teaching and learning. Mathematics teaching is often poor quality, with teachers not able to answer questions in the curriculum they are teaching, one indicator of the challenge. Often national testing is misleading as it does not show the major gap at lower grade levels. Of the full complement of pupils who start school, only 50 per cent will make it to Grade 12 and only 12 per cent will qualify for university entrance. Fundamental reforms are needed in the public sector. Business leaders need to incorporate an understanding of private education and other market experiments and schooling innovations in their overall perspective and priorities for intervention and reform.“


Zenex Foundation: Educating for impact in mathematics, science and language - A ten year review

“The Zenex Foundation initiated a metaevaluation of 23 of its mathematics, science and language projects in South African schools between 1998 and 2006. This forms part of its commitment to project evaluation and research as a way of strengthening its impact. The aim of each project has been to improve the quality of teaching and learning, and to achieve positive change in schools. The projects have achieved varying levels of success, but more importantly, the evaluations have provided invaluable information on critical success factors and the dynamics of school development. The lessons documented by the meta-evaluation have informed the development of the Zenex Foundation’s strategy for the next ten years.”

‘Maths anxiety’ causing fear and despair in children as young as six

"Children as young as six feel fear, rage and despair as a result of “mathematics anxiety”, a condition which can cause physical symptoms and behaviour problems in class, according to a study. Pupils in both primary and secondary school can find themselves locked in a cycle of despair, suffering from anxiety which harms their maths performance, which in turn leads to increased anxiety. Researchers say maths anxiety should be treated as a “real concern” because of the damage it does to a child’s learning."

Read more in The Guardian

[Case Study] Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (Casme)

Casme  works primarily with teachers to build their capacity, skills and competence in subject content knowledge, pedagogical skills and the use of research-based strategies. Part of their work includes the integration of technology in teaching. The project not only focuses on Mathematics, Science and English teacher development and support but also includes components that address curriculum management, tertiary access and e-learning. 

[Case Study] Growthpoint Properties --Christel House

In January 2018, Growthpoint Properties partnered with Christel House to support thirty Grade 10 learners at their school campus in Cape Town. Supporting these students falls within the company’s CSI strategy where we aim to provide skills development to students in historically disadvantaged communities. 


[Case Study] Reflective Learning

Screen Shot 2019 04 01 at 161053We exist to diagnose and remediate cumulative learning gaps that build up through a learner’s education. We do this by creating scalable and impactful resources including highly detailed diagnostic assessments and personalised, targeted catch-up curriculum that can be used in a range of contexts.

 We wish to see all learners, regardless of their background, realise their academic potential. By placing special focus on Mathematics and, in future, Physical Science, Reflective Learning is opening the doors to STEM careers.

BASF South Africa supports mathematics and science education initiative

BASF South Africa made a donation of R100 000 to the Incubating Great Engineering Minds (iGEMS) programme to support the study of Mathematics and Science amongst the disadvantaged communities in the Nelson Mandela Metropole.

"The programme provides senior high school extra tuition in Mathematics and Science through after-school and Saturday morning tutoring, offers career guidance through an internship ‘gap’ year at the sponsoring companies, bridges the gap between school and university by providing courses in Maths and Science for the internship students in order to better prepare them for university studies, provides information on and access to bursaries for tertiary studies, develops pupils’ leadership and community service skills, secures employment with sponsoring companies, and focusses strongly on leadership development."



Bulungula Incubator IiTablet Tshomiz Programme

"In the Bulungula Incubator IiTablet Tshomiz programme we are enhancing the quality of our programme using online learning aids that can improve the quality of the learning experience in under-resourced schools. We are modelling and implementing a replicable “technology for quality education” programme that makes excellent online programmes widely available for a deep rural setting where learners face the most challenging conditions in the country. We believe that through this, we can effectively address the skills gap in Mathematics and as the programme grows, in English too.

We already have over 500 learners from two schools in the area, from Grade 1-9, accessing the programme weekly during a facilitated session. We are adding 100 learners a month and aim to have four schools on the programme by the end of next year. While developing the IiTablet Tshomiz programme we are also compiling a toolkit for sharing with other organisations."

Read more about the  IiTablet Tshomiz programme

Read more about the IiTablet Tshomiz Programme Toolkit here

Read more about IiTablet Tshomiz on the Center for Education Innovations 

Chess as a logic and lateral thinking training intervention for mathematics and science education in South Africa

"A logical problem solving framework has to be imparted to many learners to give them the foundation on which to build mathematics and science ability.

One way in which this is being addressed is to introduce chess into primary and senior schools. An experimental chess program has been introduced at the level of Grade One. This program is delivering good results. It has been introduced together with a train-the-trainer program.

A second school program has been introduced for learners in the 10 to 16 year age bracket. A target of this program is to provide the learners with inter-school league competition opportunities, the idea being that they view the playing of chess as a fun competitive exercise, rather than as an exercise for the mathematics class."

Read more about the mini chess programme here

Corporate Practice: Changing Realities

Liberty’s key focus area remains education. The company supports initiatives that follow a lifelong trajectory, targeting each life stage of a learner with the aim of improving their performance in mathematics, physical science and literacy. A strong emphasis is placed on mathematics as, through this subject, learners gain the problem-solving skills that are both necessary and marketable in today’s technically oriented market place.

  • One such initiative supported by Liberty is the Kutlwanong Centre for Maths, Science and Technology.
  • Liberty supports two Kutlwanong centres: Ponego Centre in Katlehong, Gauteng; and Sibusisiwe Centre in umbumbulu, KwaZulu-Natal. Both centres cater for 600 grade 10 to 12 learners.

Digital library for Maths and Science high schoolers

Siyafunda digital library created by Zakheni Ngubo challenges three gaps that he has identified in the South African school system; language barriers‚ patchy academic support and teachers lacking in confidence.
The organisation is a learning and data management platform that provides access to local Maths, Science, Entrepreneurship, Financial literacy and digital skills through mobile technology. It integrates teaching through video, audio and e-books using a wireless digital library for high school students for a South African curriculum.

Read more here:

Engen Maths and Science Schools

"The Engen Maths and Science School programme evolved out of the Engen Saturday Schools initiative, launched in the mid-1980s. It exposes learners from grades 10 to 12 - who show potential in maths and science - to high-quality teachers and educational materials.
Engen Maths and Science Schools matric pass rate for the past 5 years has been over 90%, which is well above the national average."

Evaluation of Inkanyezi Learners in Public Schools Programme: Summary of Key Finding

“This evaluation report examines the effectiveness of the Inkanyezi Project, a Zenex Foundation funded initiative that enabled selected Black learners to attend public schools with a history of providing quality Mathematics and Science education.

Conducted by Quality Projects in Education and Schaffer & Associates from 2009 to 2016, the evaluation investigated, inter alia, whether the performance of the participating learners improved in Mathematics and Science, and what lessons could be learned in terms of expanding the project to more schools, and advancing Mathematics and Science teaching and learning in schools. The report contains a number of findings around mentorship, learner selection, project management and other elements of the project.” 

iiTablet Tshomiz Programme

"iiTablet Tshomiz Programme started in 2016, using a high-quality online programme called MathsBuddy,  is currently reaching 350 learners(from Grades 1 – 5) and plans to reach 1000 learners over the next 3 years.

Their aim is to design a replicable programme that is workable in any school context, but especially for those schools most in need of support.The programme has been formulated with an awareness of the typical barriers-to-technology faced in most schooling environments"

Read more about the iiTablet Yshomiz Programme here