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South Africa: The Department of Science and Technology (DST) Highlights Education Focus
Source: IT Web News
Source Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: South Africa
Created: Aug 28, 2014

Pandor added the DST will invest R497 million to implement a "co-ordinated approach to science education, science awareness and science communication" through the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement, with the programme expected to reach around 350 000 learners and between 12 500 to 13 000 teachers a year.

The programme, she said, would take place over a medium-term expenditure framework, which spans a few years.

Maths, science concerns
The DST's focus on education will add to efforts by the Department of Basic Education to improve mathematics and science results – subjects crucial to SA's ICT skills pool.

Although the number of matriculants who passed maths and physical science increased last year, fewer students have taken up the subjects over the past three years, according to an analysis outlining enrolment trends. It says 42% of the 700 000 matrics last year were enrolled for maths compared to 48% in 2010. Science student numbers also dropped from 38% of candidates in 2010 to 32% last year.

A recent World Economic Forum report based on interviews with global business leaders ranked SA's quality of mathematics and science education last among 148 countries, with analysts warning of long-term implications for the country's ICT sector.
Speaking at her first media briefing after her reappointment as science and technology minister last month, Pandor noted the department would also look to bolster its graduate support programme to cater for around 1 000 people to gain hands-on experience in the workplace.

Pandor's history in government education initiatives includes a period served as SA's education minister between 2004 and 2009.
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