Making 21st century learning possible for one and all South Africans
The Penreach Shalamuka STEAM Centre has been building on the impact of its work since 2012 to add interactive, hands-on, immersive and technology-enabled exhibits and related programmes as a platform for the Mpumalanga community to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). Supplemented with creative spaces where educators and learners can collaborate on projects around coding, robotics, design and engineering, the centre has become a hub for STEAM-based learning in Mpumalanga.
The centre has a significant impact on the quality of STEAM education in the region. The development is taking place in phases, and once all components of the new facilities are implemented, it is estimated that approximately 50 000 learners will be exposed to intensive educational activities and more than 15 000 people will be visiting the centre annually. This will include a considerable fraction of the region’s teachers and learners. More learners will be reached through outreach activities conducted via the Penreach Science mobile Baylabs.
Current activities of the centre include practical science experiments, science shows, mini-STEAM projects, Coding & Robotics, digital skills training and interactive science exhibits . The centre also hosts virtual STEAM Communities of Practice with our partner BRIDGE, to promote and develop practice around STEAM-based learning in South Africa.
Children in Grades 4-7
Maths & Science Teachers
Schools using digital resources
Children reached via the Mobile Science Lab & Shalamuka Science Centre
59% of learners who achieved above 50% in Maths
67% of learners who achieved above 50% in Science
Average 20% increase of scores in Maths and Science in 2018 (Grades 4-12)
The rate of achievement above 50% for Maths in Grades 4 increased by 18% from 2017 48% to 2018 66%
The first phase of the expanded centre is to be completed. The STEAM Makerspace is equipped with technology as well as unplugged equipment to allow educators and learners to participate in mini STEAM projects.
Coding & Robotics support is provided to the 23 pilot schools in Ehlanzeni and partner with I-SET LEGO project in 2 primary schools (Dwaleni and Masoyi).
Whilst access to STEAM education has increased, the quality of teaching has improved at a slower rate.
Interventions that seek to improve the quality of STEAM education are therefore imperative.
It is also crucial to identify and nurture potential in learners in order to increase the pool of potential scientists, engineers and Maths and Science teachers.
Start-of-Term workshops for teachers and HODs on curriculum tracking for the term
Workshops around subject content and pedagogy
The centre reaches educators, learners, parent volunteers from Early Childhood Development to grade 12 and general public. Educator workshops focus on equipping practitioners, teachers and teacher interns to integrate STEAM-learning into the normal schooling environment through projects and activities. Learners from Grades R to 12 visit the centre and make use of equipment to discover and learn in all areas of STEAM. The centre also hosts several STEAM related competitions per year, including Career expo, Maths day and national science week.
Maths, Natural and Physical Science teachers from primary schools
Maths, Natural and Physical Science teachers from MTSA High Schools
Workshops in Maths and Science are open to all teachers, Heads of Department and Subject Advisors and tackle specific challenges that teachers face in the teaching of fundamental maths and science concepts.
It covers work from Foundation phase to Grade 12.
2 Maths Seminars
2 Science Seminars
Teachers per seminar
86% of the 23 589 public schools in South Africa do not have science labs.
This means that most young scholars don’t get hands-on tuition which would make their learning far more effective because it is demonstrated and practiced.
It also means that many of these aspiring scientists, researchers, engineers and medical specialists start their university careers without ever conducting a practical experiment and without ever handling science equipment.
Access to practical experiments also excites young minds and entice them to consider a career in sciences, which a textbook might never accomplish.
Our three mobile laboratories called Baylabs bring practical science to under resourced school.
96 Teachers from partner primary and high schools (Grade 4 – 12) receive access to science equipment and coaching on conducting prescribed experiments.
Penreach facilitates digital learning that gives Grade 10-12 teachers and their pupils access to digital content in Maths & Science
The content includes video, assessments and lesson plans aligned to the national curriculum (CAPS).
This is delivered using a laptop, data projector and internet access. Teachers receive support and training from Penreach on how to utilise this tool optimally to improve the understanding of important concepts in these subjects.
Teacher training and support in class
Access to digital resources and Maths & Science for grades 10-12
Improved outcomes in Maths and Science education will be attained only if equal attention is given to improving English Language competence. 78% of SA children are not able to read for meaning in any language by the end of Grade 3. This can be attributed to the wide use of vernacular, negative attitude towards English and lack of confidence in the use of
English by both learners and educators. This is exacerbated by weak institutional functionality and limited capacity of Heads of Department.
The SACMEQ 2007 research report states that many teachers lack basic content knowledge and pedagogical skills.
32% of Grade 6 teachers in SA had desirable subject knowledge. The figure was even lower in Mpumalanga at only 4%.
Teacher cluster workshops to improve functional English
Maths & Science Oral training and competitions
Penreach facilitates the establishing of Communities of Practice (CoP) in Maths & Science in Mpumalanga with BRIDGE our partner to create communities of excellence able to share experiences and solutions.
Directing the Mpumalanga-based discussion forums on maths & Science education, to assist in coordinating efforts in the province
Maths & Science Oral training and competitions