AIMSSEC identified the need to narrow the gap between opportunities for previously disadvantaged rural South African teachers with respect to transition rates into mathematics and science careers for their learners. The primary gap was identified in schools where there was a need for teachers to increase their content knowledge and their pedagogical approaches in order to raise the quality of teaching and learning mathematics.
AIMSSEC’s programmes are designed to address this gap through the use of continuous professional development. These programmes include:
- The 3-month AIMSSEC Mathematical Thinking (MT) course, endorsed with 20 professional development points by the South African Council for Educators (Service Provider Number: PR11011);
- The 2-year Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT, NQF level 6, Total credits: 132,SAQA Qualification ID: 97199) course, which provides in-service training for mathematics teachers from intermediate, senior and FET phases; this is accredited by North West University following previous accreditation of the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) through Stellenbosch University and the University of Fort Hare; and
- The 2-year Advanced Diploma in Education (ADE, NQF level 7) course which provides in-service training for mathematics teachers also accredited by North West University.
These courses are designed for the majority of mathematics teachers who are mathematically under-qualified, preparing them to be more effective teachers, heads of departments and subject advisers. To develop expert teachers from the continuous professional development programme in South Africa, AIMSSEC follows a blended learning approach which includes: residential modules, distance learning, online forums, end of year examinations and interactive whiteboard sessions. AIMSSEC’s first book, Mathematical Thinking in the lower secondary classroom, was published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) in 2016, giving educators access to resources for professional development and classroom practice. This book is the first in a series.
AIMSSEC also provides intensive ICT training on all residential courses, covering key ICT skills including email, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, GeoGebra and use of the internet. This ICT course is currently offered as part of the Mathematical Thinking course. The accredited ICT module will also form part of the new ACT in 2016. AIMSSEC is currently exploring the future prospect of a Master’s in Mathematics Education. To date, AIMSSEC has trained 1 707 teachers on the MT short course, while 215 teachers graduated from the two year ACE course. We thank all our sponsors for making this amazing opportunity to invest in South Africa possible.