Geexpo 2015: Aims to turn the tide on poor maths and science performance

Annette Willemse -- Mon, 07/27/2015 - 08:47

Geexpo 2015: Aiming to turn the tide on poor maths and science performance

During recent years it has become strikingly obvious to all South Africans that the prevailing deficiencies in basic maths and science education have become a major constraint in ensuring that the country’s human capital is fully aligned to the country’s economic growth and development goals.

In the National Development Plan (NDP), the National Planning Commission (NPC) sets out a vision for “schools that provide all learners with an excellent education, especially in literacy, mathematics and science”. In an effort to turn the tide on poor maths and science performance and to highlight the advantages of these subjects in terms of career planning, the School of Information Technology on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal) is hosting its annual Geexpo event on 17 October 2015.

This event consists of competitions such as:

·      PAT Project Competitions (learners from Grade 10-12 can enter their PAT projects and win study bursaries to study within the field of IT and Mathematics);

·      Maths Amazing Race (a fun hour for Grade8-12’s with great prizes up for grabs);

·      Statistics Poster Competition (for Grade 10-12);

·      Serious Game Competition (for Grade 8-12)

The PAT Project Competition will also see the winning school receiving a cash incentive to upgrade its school lab. There is no entry fee for any competition and as such, anyone is welcome to join in the fun.

There will also be a:

·      Robotics exhibit;

·      Serious Games Institute – South Africa exhibit (with the MoCap suit and Oculus Rift virtual goggles);

·      Exhibitors for school supplies;

·      Cafeteria services.

According to Ms Daleen Gerber, Director of the School of Information Technology – within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, there is a growing appreciation that more students need to be involved in maths and sciences to meet the economy’s skills demand and to offer learners – especially poorer learners, a broader scope of career options.  Gerber acknowledges that it is simply not enough to boost learners to pass maths or science, but to help them gain access to further education opportunities.  “Learner confidence is still at a low because they are afraid of maths and science since they believe these subjects will cause them to fail and henceforth they choose maths literacy,” explains Gerber.  Through initiatives such as the annual Geexpo we attempt to motivate learners and excite them about the possibilities that awaits them with maths and science as part of their curricula. As an institution of higher learning we are furthermore helping to build a culture – not only in schools, but also in society as a whole, that truly values maths and science as the main building blocks of any personal and societal progress and prospertity.”

Schools are invited to register as many learners for Geexpo as they see fit. For more information please send an e-mail to jt.terblanche@nwu.ac.za or to sune.vanderlinde@nwu.ac.za   For a registration form, please visit the Geexpo website.