The holistic approach of the MCIS incorporates more than 50 initiatives. The key program components can be explored according to several focus areas:
The Maths Centre works in 800 schools throughout the country ranging from Grade R to Grade 12, as well as out-of-school youth. The core subject areas are pure mathematics, physical science, technology, early childhood development, and micro systems technology for engineering. Cumulative gaps in the learners’ content knowledge are identified systematically and corrected. Teacher training is also offered to primary and secondary teachers, accompanied by support with curriculum-content related issues and meeting the rising demands of the new assessment requirements. Teacher and learner progression are the pillars of this program. Learners are also assisted with career guidance and study skills. These interventions take the form of Saturday classes, afternoon clinics, individual tutoring, and camps when funding is available. The Maths Centre trainers get continuous on-the-job training to intensify their professional expertise.
Engineering and Technology
The aim of this focus area is to improve engineering as a career choice among students. This evolved from the fact that South Africa has insufficient experienced and active engineers and poor racial diversity. The following program components seek to address this by providing: engineering and technology kits to enhance teaching and learning and allow for experience through practical activities; maps and mirrors program, in which a group of engineering graduates volunteer as ambassadors to train students in mechanical, electrical, and electronic systems, structures, and processing.
This focus area is driven by a desire to provide skills development programs for in-school and out-of-school youth and informal businesses within the domain of entrepreneurship education. The desired outcome would be to convert informal businesses to formal micro enterprises by creating job opportunities.
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CEI approaches in action
The various initiatives are offered for free to disadvantaged school communities with an accompanying Memorandum Of Understanding.
The Maths Centre opened in 1985 as a small outreach project from a school in Auckland Park School (Gauteng). Between 1996 and 1998, seven new centers were opened with the support of numerous funders. Covering expenses was aided in 1999 when the center began to sell materials. In 2001, the center was awarded a substantial contract from Business Trust to deliver lessons to secondary school learners in 626 schools across nine provinces. In the same year, a R5,000,000 contract was awarded by Old Mutual for Mathematics education in primary schools. 2003 saw the center being accredited with Outcomes-Based Education (OBE) approval. Technology labs were constructed for teacher training in 2004. A Technology Olympiad was run in 2006 and saw many members from disadvantaged communities participating for the first time. Between 2009 and 2013, the Senior Management Team was strengthened by the hiring of research, innovation, academic, and monitoring support staff members as well as the appointment of an HR manager.
MCIS aims to develop 100 projects in the next five years. R100,000,000 would be required for this and 150 staff countrywide. A consistent growth scenario was chosen as a five-year ambition getting the Maths Centre to a R100,000,000 funding base.
Monitoring & Evaluation
MCIS employs two full-time monitoring managers. These managers observe classrooms, monitor teachers' content knowledge, and record student and teacher progression. In addition, the seven provincial managers conduct daily and weekly monitoring. The Western Cape Education department has partnered with MCIS for the last six years. The district officials are trained by MCIS to train the teachers within all the primary schools in their district.