A joint project involving UKZN has resulted in 1 100 Grade 9 learners being informed about the advantages of choosing mathematics and science subjects for the senior phase of high school.

The project was held with five secondary schools on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast as well as various schools from the Cato Manor area in the first two weeks of February.

Also involved in the project were the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME).

UKZN representatives Dr Tanja Reinhardt and Mrs Prashina Kallideen were on hand to entertain and inform the learners.

Reinhardt, the Co-ordinator of the University’s Science and Technology Education Centre, gave a career talk and presented a highly engaging science show while Kallideen, the outreach and public relations co-ordinator at the Astronomy and Cosmology Research Unit (ACRU), provided the audience with some insight into astronomy and cosmology.

In addition to the talks and shows, each learner was provided with a resource pack which included a mathematics set to aid their geometry lessons and various kits with which they could conduct scientific experiments at home. The high schools selected for the project received large mathematics sets to assist in teaching geometry, “rock boxes” to improve the teaching and learning of geology and the sciences, as well as other small tools to improve the appeal of the sciences.

Reinhardt, who served as project co-ordinator, said she hoped the intervention would translate into positive results in a few years’ time.

The aim, said Reinhardt, was for the project to encourage the targeted learners to opt for mathematics and science at high school, and that this would lead to an increased interest in science and engineering degrees at UKZN.

She thanked SAASTA and the DST, who provided funding for the project.