UCT takes up maths, science and technology challenge

17 November 2003

Maths, science and technology (MST) education will be the focus of a one-day workshop at UCT on November 26.

"The aim of the workshop is to devise a framework for a coherent institutional plan to effectively address challenges posed to UCT as a result of the malaise in maths, science and technology (MST) education in the province and in the country as a whole," said Dr Rüdiger Laugksch, a senior lecturer in the School of Education. The format of the workshop entails an analysis of UCT staff activities in MST education during 2002-2003. This will include presentations from four UCT stakeholders on the implications and challenges of the current calamity in MST education for the university.

There will also be a number of plenary discussions to consider activities and timeframes for the establishment of the desired institutional policy.

UCT has identified nine strategic thrusts that are considered priority areas for the institution. The Strategic Thrust in Maths and Science Education is one of these areas, and involves both the science and humanities faculties.

"However, this cross-faculty thrust has been considered under-developed for some time, and is regarded as under-discussed within the institution," said Laugksch.

"Earlier this year I was asked by a group of maths and science educators from both faculties to take the initiative in exploring the possibilities of putting some substance to this somewhat dormant strategic thrust (now renamed a Focus on MST Education).

"It has subsequently become clear from my discussions with Professor Martin Hall, Deputy-Vice Chancellor for planning and development, that UCT regards MST education as one of the institution's top priorities."

The anticipated outcomes of workshop are:

  • to expose participants to different views of the perceived implications of the current state of MST education to UCT and of challenges for the institution in addressing this situation effectively;
  • to expose participants to the diversity of current activities in MST education by UCT academics and senior students;
  • to develop a consensus-based institutional vision for UCT's future activities in MST education at the school level; and
  • to decide upon prioritised activities in the short, medium, and long-term for UCT that give effect to the institutional vision.

A framework for UCT activities in MST education during 2002 and 2003, as well as a SWOT analysis of these activities within the framework, will be made available to delegates prior to the workshop. The workshop is being organised by a steering committee consisting of Drs Lydia Abel (Schools Development Unit), Andy Buffler (Physics), and Laugksch. It will be held on Wednesday, November 26, at the Centre for African Studies Gallery, Upper Campus. For more information contact Laugksch on tel 650-3998.

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