The newsworthiness and historical importance of the First African in Space project makes it the ideal springboard to promote science and mathematics education in South Africa - arguably the foundations of a successful career in
just about any field in the technology-dependent modern world.
The First African in Space Team have taken a four-sided approach to boosting interest in science and mathematics at school level:
- By organising a conference for maths and science teachers from 102 South African schools;
- By reaching out to the youth and the nation at large using the medium of popular media;
- By bringing the wonder of space travel to learners by organising live HAM radio link-ups with Mark from the International Space Station; and
- By conducting research measuring the impact the First African in Space project as a whole has had on learners.
|Autumn Clinic for Maths and Science Teachers|
The 1st Autumn Clinic for Science and Mathematics Educators took
place at the Eskom Convention Centre in Midrand, Johnannesburg, from
2 to 5 April 2002.
It was attended by provincial school administrators as well as
teachers and principals from 102 schools that had been selected
for their determination to succeed despite lack of resources.
These schools display basic levels of functionality and have the
potential to improve, particularly in the fields of maths and science
The Autumn Clinic was an opportunity to thank these educators for
their contribution and provide them with the opportunity to meet with
and learn from fellow educators and educational experts.
Read more on the Autumn Clinic.
The First African in Space Education Outreach programme is capitalising on the vast reach of traditional media to carry educational content to a wider audience of learners and teachers.
At present, 5 500 South African high schools receive educational supplements printed and distributed by local newspapers. The Education Outreach initiative is piggy-backing on this infrastructure, sourcing space-related educational material from the world's authoritative resources for inclusion in these supplements. To ensure that these supplements reach all South African high schools - and not just the initial 5 500 - the initiative is also commissioning a larger print run and negotiating more widespread distribution of these supplements throughout South Africa.
Read more about the Media Campaign
Imagine the thrill of talking to someone who is sitting in a space station, hundreds of kilometres above the surface of the Earth!
While in space, Mark will use HAM (amateur) radio to communicate with hundreds of learners from a handful of schools throughout southern Africa. HAM radio has the capacity to engage the widest possible audience - there is even a chance that link-ups to Mark in the Space Station will be broadcast nationally.
Read more on HAM Radio
Research of the impact of the various aspects of the First African In Space Project on learners, educators and the general public is already under way. The goal is to determine whether the project has fostered a greater understanding of the space environment, and whether it has inspired more learners to choose maths and science as high-school - and, hopefully, university - subjects.
Read more on Impact Assessment