Bridging The Mathematical Gap 2016 – taking the sting out of mathematics

Annette Willemse -- Tue, 12/01/2015 - 13:22

Bridging The Mathematical Gap 2016 – taking the sting out of mathematics

If you ever said; “I can’t do mathematics,” then the Bridging The Mathematical Gap programme (BTMG) is just for you!

Three years since the inception of the BTMG programme numerous students have not only overcome their mathematical anxiety, but are also flourishing as students within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal). That’s correct – these students went from failing mathematics in the National Senior Certificate Examination to completing their degrees in  Economics, Business Informatics and Information Technology.


More about the programme

The Faculty has successfully introduced an initiative to not only better school learners’ understanding of mathematics - and improve their overall performance in the subject, but also increase access into fields of study such as commerce and information technology. The BTMG programme aims to assist grade 12 learners to improve their maths performance and by doing so allow them access to degree programmes that requires a sound mathematical basis, such as BCom and BSc IT. The syllabus of the programme covers not only basic mathematical concepts – which are taught from Grade 8 onwards, but also the application of these concepts in accordance with the outcomes specified in the Grade 12 curriculum.    In short: an intensified foci on the entire mathematical spectrum that will serve as pre-knowledge for the mathematics modules in the BCom and BSc IT curriculums respectively.

According to Ms Daleen Gerber, Director of the School of Information Technology, learners who enroll for the BTMG programme in January 2016 will busy themselves with the curriculum for six hours a day for a two-week period. During this time they will receive intensive coaching – both in group settings and on an individual base, and write various class tests as well as two exam papers to ascertain their level of knowledge. “The programme sets a minimum required pass rate of 50% for all participants, and I am pleased to say that the programme has maintained a pass rate of 80% thus far“, says Gerber.

Success all the way

The biggest success of the programme is that it builds a bridge between the abstract nature of mathematics and the practical application thereof. In the instance of a degree programme such as BSc IT, mathematics represents the basis upon which all natural sciences subjects are founded, whereas in BCom programmes mathematics is used, for example, to calculate logarithms and exponential functions. The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, Prof Herman van der Merwe, emphasises the importance of an initiative such as the BTMG and says that by empowering learners to be mathematically competent and efficient, the campus is pro-actively addressing the dire skills need of the country. “Mathematics is one of those subjects – along with science, that is very important to the economy and the further development of our country,” says Prof Van der Merwe and adds that school learners who want to further their studies or want to work in sectors like engineering, natural sciences, information technology and medicine have to pass mathematics, science or both if they are to qualify for further studies in these fields.  “Our economy needs doctors, engineers, architects, actuaries and information technology specialists, and I believe that as a University and as a campus, we are heeding the call to address this skills deficit”. The programme is only valid for students who want to further their studies at the Vaal Triangle Campus.

The BTMG programme is offered in conjunction with the Centre for Continuing Professional Development (CCPD) on the campus.


Important information

It is important that interested applicants apply before or on 8 January 2016. The programme will take place from 9 January to 23 January and the cost involved is R3 000 per applicant. For more information or to book your spot, please contact Daleen on (016) 910 3267 / Belinda on (016) 910 3261 or send an email to or