Two MUT academics wow delegates at a Maths conference

Professor Alfred Msomi, left, and Dr Themba Mthethwa

Professor Alfred Msomi, the Head of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and Dr Themba Mthethwa, the Deputy Director of the Mathematics and Science Education Unit at the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC), made presentations at the regional conference of the Association of Mathematics Educators of South Africa (AMESA), held at the UKZN Edgewood campus on Saturday, on 11 May 2024. Dr Mthethwa described their performances as “brilliance”.

Dr Mthethwa’s presentation was titled “Deconstructing Technical Mathematics: An Examination of Curriculum Content and its Alignment with Pure Mathematics in South African Secondary Education”. It is from a study that investigates the nature and content of the Technical Mathematics curriculum in South African secondary schools. The study “critically” examines the curriculum, comparing it with the Pure Mathematics curriculum “to evaluate its adequacy in preparing students for future academic or technical pursuits. The study aims to identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for improvement to enhance the overall quality of mathematics education”, said Dr Mthethwa. Technical Mathematics, introduced in 2016 for Grades 10-12 in technical schools, replaced Pure Mathematics in the South African curriculum in all Technical Schools. Unlike Pure Mathematics, Technical Mathematics is practical and application-oriented, focusing on mathematical concepts relevant to technical fields such as engineering and technology.

Professor Msomi’s “enlightening” presentation, titled “Advancing Mathematics Education in South Africa: Reflecting on Our Collective Dedication,” focused on the progress and challenges within mathematics education in South Africa.

Professor Msomi’s presentation highlighted the following: the recent advancements, innovations, or successful initiatives aimed at enhancing mathematics education in the country; the challenges faced by educators, students, and policymakers in improving mathematics education outcomes and access. The presentation also emphasized the importance of collaboration and shared commitment among educators, researchers, and policymakers to address challenges and drive positive change in mathematics education, among others.

In the same conference Professor Msomi was elected Regional Chairperson of AMESA. Professor Msomi said among his duties will be providing leadership and guidance to members within the region to promote excellence in mathematics education; facilitating networking opportunities among educators, researchers, and professionals to encourage collaboration and the sharing of best practices; advocating for the importance of mathematics education, and working to influence policies that enhance the quality of Maths instruction; creating opportunities for professional development by organizing workshops, conferences, and training sessions to support the professional development of mathematics educators; and promoting and supporting research in mathematics education to advance knowledge and improve teaching practices; and engaging with the local community to raise awareness about the significance of mathematics education and foster interest in the subject. Professor Msomi’s tenure for this post is two years.