TUT tackles maths, science problem

In a first for the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (TUTFEBE), Prof SP Daniel Chowdhury, a research professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, together with a team of lecturers have developed a Maths and Science workshop to get mathematics and science teachers at schools in the university’s footprint area “back on track” for training to help their learners perform better. In addition to addressing an important national issue, the project forms part of the Faculty’s annual Community Outreach programmes.

Science, Engineering and Technology have been declared national growth areas, but despite this, the results of matric leaners in mathematics and sciences country-wide have been on the decline over time. Based on these declining results it has become clear that interventions at more than one level are vital to help learners improve their Mathematics results. One such intervention is to invest in the training and development of mathematics teachers.

The primary goal of the recent Content Workshop for Gauteng Secondary Schools Mathematics Educators, was to maximise the impact on the pass rate of the learners at the schools in Mamelodi and Atteridgeville, where the 15 teachers, came from. The content workshop was designed to complement training programmes already organised by the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE).

The pass rate of the corresponding schools will be evaluated to determine the success. During the workshop challenges in the teaching and learning of mathematics towards improving the Mathematics pass rate were identified, while the group also looked at ways to make Mathematics and Science subjects, the enabling subjects to pursue a career in engineering, more attractive for students.

The teaching team and the trainees were careful that the positive impact on the pass rate of  NSC Maths from their corresponding schools was maximised. According to Prof Chowdury, the training was very interactive, with trainees wanting to explore more about ways that the dissemination of knowledge and information could be imparted far better than in the past.

This workshop content also encouraged some added benefits, including:

  • More effective teaching of Mathematics in the affected schools;
  • Improved pass rate at the affected schools;
  • To motivate equipped learners to choose TUTFEBE as their higher education institution of choice;
  • Community engagement undertaking by strengthening basic education in these areas.

According to Prof Chowdhury, this is an ongoing endeavour, which will be rolled-out to schools in other footprint areas as well.  The trainees will be visited at random intervals to conclude if the teachers were implementing what they were taught and follow-up workshops, aimed at continuous training and development of the teachers towards improving matric results in these subjects, will be hosted by the Faculty.

He also extended an open invite to anyone with a passion to participate in projects for the greater good of the community and country, to join.
For more information on the project or an interview with Prof Chowdhury, please contact him on tel: 012 382 5149, mobile: 071 351 9332 or send an email to

For more information on the Tshwane Unviersity of Technology, please contact Willa de Ruyter on tel:  012 382 5352 or send an email to deruyterw@tut.ac.za