Cause profile

AIMSSEC - African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Schools Enrichment Centre
http://aimssec.aims.ac.za | Facebook | Youtube | Twitter

“Educational opportunities should be equal for all. Mathematics is a core component of intelligent decision making in everyday life, in the workplace, and in our democratic society. To fail children in mathematics, or to let mathematics fail them, is to close off an important access to society’s resources.” - Robert Moses, Civil Rights Activist.

Mathematics is important, but South Africa's mathematics teaching is in crisis. Despite its status as one of the biggest economies in Africa, South Africa is consistently ranked as one of the lowest countries in Mathematics and Science Education by the World Economic Forum. South African children are being failed by mathematics and consequently are disadvantaged in later life. AIMSSEC, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2003, is trying to do something about this.

Our objectives are:

  • to empower teachers from disadvantaged rural and township communities
  • to introduce new skills to the teaching of mathematics
  • to improve the subject knowledge and raise the standards of mathematics teaching

We achieve this by providing free training courses and resources for mathematics teachers, subject advisers and field trainers in South Africa.

Since 2004 we have trained a total of 1774 teachers on the three-month AIMSSEC Mathematical Thinking course and 215 teachers, subject advisers and field trainers have completed the two-year part-time ACE course (instituted in 2009). 71 teachers have graduated from the ACE course run in collaboration with IMSTUS and 63 have graduated from the current joint programme with Fort Hare. These teachers have gone on to help over 100,000 learners and most of these graduates also contribute to AIMSSEC courses as teaching assistants.

To keep our courses 100% free for the teachers who attend, we rely on the generous donations of our supporters. AIMSSEC needs to raise R7000 (US $540, £415) for each teacher who comes on one of our courses. This will cover all costs including tuition, travel, accommodation, food, stationery and a pack of teaching materials to take back to school. With an ever increasing waiting list, all donations to support this cause will be greatly appreciated!

About our courses
Learning is through guided discovery, with an emphasis on understanding, mathematical thinking, discussion, collaborative learning and challenges rather than just mechanical practice. Learning how to learn and to take responsibility for one’s own learning is of paramount importance. A distinguished team of more than 50 international mathematics education experts volunteer on the residential courses and support local staff and students after the courses. Graduates also contribute to the courses by becoming teaching assistants on the new courses.

We run three types of professional development courses for primary and secondary teachers, subject advisers and field trainers from all over South Africa. These blended learning courses combine residential units, home-study, regularly marked assignments, online learning and TV broadcasts and examinations for qualifications awarded by AIMS and other partner universities.

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.
AIMSSEC is currently exploring the future prospect of a Master’s in
Mathematics Education.

For their part, the teachers who attend our courses must train other teachers, creating a cascade model which ensures our work is far reaching. Since 2004 over 1774 teachers have completed the three month Mathematical Thinking course and over 215 teachers, subject advisers and field trainers have completed the two year ACE course (instituted in 2009).
Other Initiatives

Community Involvement
Teacher workshops, master classes at AIMS for learners, maths clubs, public lectures. Staff also regularly teach classes in local schools for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Aiming High Teacher Network - http://aiminghigh.aimssec.ac.za
This is an online network of mathematics teachers designed to support lifelong learning, offer resources for teaching and encourage mutual support through the sharing of ideas and advice which each other.

For more information and enquiries please visit: http://aimssec.aims.ac.za