South African Mathematics Foundation working towards improving mathematics education

Friday, 15 February 2019

South African Mathematics Foundation working towards improving mathematics education

Throughout her career Professor Kerstin Jordaan, newly appointed Executive Director of the South African Mathematics Foundation (SAMF), has made a substantial contribution to inclusive growth and development in Mathematics by providing leadership, support and guidance to grass-root initiatives of Mathematics educators and researchers.  It is these skills she wants to bring to SAMF to enhance the way Mathematics can contribute to a vibrant and innovative South Africa. 

Professor Jordaan is the President of the South African Mathematical Society and a Director on the Steering Committee of the DST-NRF Centre for Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences. She is a full time Professor in the Department of Decision Sciences at UNISA and a NRF rated researcher in Mathematics who holds a PhD in Mathematics, an honours degree in Mathematics Education and a Higher Diploma in Education.

The SAMF is a non-profit company, established in 2004 by the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA) and the South African Mathematical Society (SAMS). This national office for Mathematics was a response by Mathematicians and Mathematics Educators to the need to advance Mathematics development. SAMF therefore represents the mathematics community and aims firstly, to advance the mathematical skills of South African learners through improved quality teaching and learning, and secondly, to improve and develop public awareness of the role mathematics play in the broader society in which it functions.  It collaborates with various stakeholders such as government, private companies, researchers, educators and other professional bodies in order to address problems related to mathematics education.

SAMF has different programmes to identify and develop talented learners such as the South African Mathematics Olympiad (SAMO) for grade 8-12 learners - the biggest Olympiad in the country. Other well established programmes include the South African Mathematics Challenge (SAMC) for grade 4-7 learners and the Siyanqoba Regional Olympiad Training Programme.

Through the SAMF programmes Professor Jordaan aims to bring the academic, government and private sector together to:

  •         Improve learner development in problem solving and analytical thinking skills through quality Mathematics teacher and learner training provided by SAMF.
  •         Communicate Mathematics as fun and engaging through public awareness campaigns and competitions in association with the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  •         Expand the professional development and accreditation of Mathematics teachers and subject leaders in partnership with Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

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