Learning to the Max, a locally-founded initiative, has launched a physical science programme called Science to the Max.
Written for teachers, by teachers, Science to the Max is aligned with the national curriculum and provides teachers with additional teaching aids, to make science accessible, simple and relevant to the learner.
"In 2007 only 29% of Grade 12 learners wrote the physical science final and, of those, only 70% passed – a mere 20% of all matriculants," says Judy McDougall, founder of Learning to the Max. "This is an alarming figure – and one that looks set to compound our already chronic shortage of skills within the IT and engineering industries, which rely on BSc degrees and qualifications, unless we do something to make physical science more accessible for teachers and learners.
"As science teachers by profession, we understand the curriculum changes that have been made. We knew that an opportunity existed for us to develop a tool that not only empowers teachers, but also learners, who receive a visual presentation of complex sections of the curriculum."
The DVD-based tool is aligned with the national curriculum statement of 2006, is outcomes based and endorsed by the Department of Education. The go-to-market strategy for the Science to the Max programme is driven by corporate sponsorship and provides organisations that partner with the Learning to the Max team, access to the top science learners in the country.
"To date, we have prepared four modules and with the support of corporate sponsors, are working towards completing the remaining 16 modules," says Given Rapholo, member of Learning to the Max.
A pilot programme has been conducted at six schools with approximately 361 learners. On average, the test results more than doubled post-DVD, demonstrating that the visual presentation of complex sections of the curriculum has a positive impact.
Karen Kornet, senior education specialist at the Department of Education, comments: "The DVDs, along with the Teacher's Guide and Learner's Guide empower the teachers, without replacing them, giving them a tool to use in the classroom. The advantage is also its simplicity to use, since it requires only a TV and a DVD player."