When the Siyavula and MTN Foundations teamed up to launch the Siyavula #1MillionMaths Challenge – aimed at sparking interest in maths and to help South Africa’s high school students prepare for their final exams – they never realised the pivotal role it could play in advancing education in the country.
The Challenge uses technology to host a range of textbooks that are made accessible to all on a digital platform, for free, based on the knowledge that regular practice will get the results South Africa wants for its learners in a fun yet educational way.
Using Siyavula’s adaptive practice questioning which adapts the difficulty level of the questions based on the learners’ responses, the statistics achieved in the 2023 challenge have shown the enormous value of the platform.
During September, learners from 162 schools competed in the eight categories that comprise the Challenge’s showdown. During the month, 3,5-million maths questions were completed, and 300 000 stars for notable performances were awarded. Most noteworthy was the Grade 8 showdown which involved challengers answering 126 questions in 60 seconds, producing two winners each scoring 100% – a new achievement for the Challenge.
The winning learners and schools hailed from Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, the Free State, Limpopo, and the Western Cape.
“You know that those end-of-year maths and physics exams are going to be a breeze when you are a ‘Siyavula Kid’ and one of the thousands of learners who have taken part in the annual Siyavula #1MillionMaths Challenge – and completed your share of the 3,5-million maths questions answered on the platform,” says Arthur Mukhuvha, GM of the MTN SA Foundation.
“And to ensure that the material is available to as many learners as possible, MTN zero-rates the platform, meaning it is free to any MTN subscriber so that learners and teachers alike can access the wealth of material available free of charge.”
The result, the Foundation believes, is a learning facility that plays a pivotal role in advancing education in South Africa. In addition, this crucial learning campaign can change many young people’s futures and help build South Africa’s technical future by assisting learners to understand and progress in mastering mathematics and physical science.
“The 4th Industrial revolution has placed the emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as crucial components of competitive nations,” says Mukhuvha. “Building and sustaining a nation that can compete on the international stage means that we must build this capacity in our schools.
“By achieving this objective, the MTN SA Foundation believes that more learners will be able to successfully complete and graduate from higher and tertiary education institutions. Those pursuing STEM-related careers will be instrumental in building a competitive nation that offers opportunities to all.”
An encouraging feature of this year’s Siyavula #1MillionMaths Challenge was the number of teachers who participated with their learners in the event and vied for the honour of being crowned South Africa’s Math or Science School Champion for 2023.
“We were delighted by the response to this part of the Challenge which created an opportunity for entire grades or schools to compete collectively,” says Mukhuvha. “It opened the way for teachers.”
The full list of winners is:
1st place: Magasela, Melusi – Qophindlela Secondary School, KZN
2nd place: Maile, Kgaogelo – Rhodesfield Technical High School, Gauteng
3rd place: Ndlovu, Mzingaye – Sunward Park High Performance School, Gauteng
1st place: Ramatsa, Lesedi – Curtis Nkondo ICT School, Gauteng
2nd place: Makuwa, Tinodaishe – Sunward Park High Performance School, Gauteng
3rd place: Lopes, Shantel Maimuna – Curtis Nkondo ICT School, Gauteng
• 1st place: Delawala, Kaushar – Liivha Combined School, Limpopo
• 2nd place: Saasa, Boitumelo – Phumula Gardens Secondary School, Gauteng
• 3rd place: Mashaba, Siyabonga – Soshanguve East Secondary School, Gauteng
• 1st place: Newmarch, Danielle – Our Lady Of Fatima Dominican Convent School, KZN
• 2nd place: Gwatinyanya, Admire – Nellmapius Secondary School, Gauteng
• 3rd place: Kerdachi, Nathan – Curro Heritage House, KZN
• 1st place: Mokgoatsane, Lefa – Katlehong Secondary School, Gauteng
• 2nd place: Chiteme, Tinashe Joseph – Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel, Gauteng (also 3rd in Science)
• 3rd place: Seleke, Maymona – Curro Academy Soshanguve, Gauteng
• 1st place: Adekeye, David – Bracken High School, Gauteng
• 2nd place: Gabanakgosi, Oarabile – Curro Academy Soshanguve, Gauteng
• 3rd place: Chiteme, Tinashe Joseph – Curro Academy Wilgeheuwel (also 2nd in Maths), Gauteng
• 1st place: Delawala, Mahroof – Liivha Combined School (also 1st in Science), Limpopo
• 2nd place: Mokgoatsane, Mpho – Katlehong Secondary School (also 2nd in Science), Gauteng
• 3rd place: Dube, Anele – Kenilworth Secondary School, Gauteng
• 1st place: Delawala, Mahroof – Liivha Combined School (also 1st in Maths), Gauteng
• 2nd place: Mokgoatsane, Mpho – Katlehong Secondary School (also 2nd in Maths), Gauteng
• 3rd place: Mutheiwana, Masindi – Katlehong Secondary School, Gauteng
The following learners received 100% in the final showdown and completed 126 questions within 60 minutes. This has never been done before.
• Melusi Magasela (Grade 8) Qophindlela Secondary School (Ladysmith)
• Lefa Mokgoatsane (Grade 11) Katlehong Secondary School (Germiston)
• Mahroof Delawala (Grade 12) Liivha Combined School (Thohoyandou)