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SAEON Education Outreach well positioned to provide vital curriculum support

SAEON’s Sibongile Mokoena, Dr Nhlanhla Nduna-Watson from the Department of Education and Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO and President of the NRF listen attentively to Pat Pillai, Chief Executive of Life College.
Sibongile Mokoena (left) shares some of SAEON’s experiences in environmental education outreach with Allison Janicke from the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
- Sibongile Mokoena, Education Outreach Coordinator, SAEON


The National Research Foundation (NRF) and its facilities participated in the 2011 Environmental Skills Summit held at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria, which was attended by delegates representing the broad environmental sector.

The Summit was organised by the Biodiversity Human Capital Development Programme (led by SANBI and the Lewis Foundation) in partnership with the departments of Environmental Affairs, Water Affairs and Science and Technology.

Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, CEO and President of the NRF, and other experts served on the panel which debated approaches to the topic of ‘Fixing leaks and blockages in the pipeline: Producing postgraduate skills for the environmental sector’. The audience engaged the panellists, explored the topic in depth and contributed ideas on possible solutions to fixing the leaks and blockages.

Dire need for curriculum support

One of the panellists, Dr Nhlanhla Nduna-Watson spoke in her capacity as Director of the Schools Curriculum about the challenges facing the education system, including the shortage of competent science teachers to produce learners with a bachelors’ pass who will register for science degrees at tertiary institutions. Dr Nduna-Watson emphasised that there was a dire need for curriculum support on subject content and learning support materials for science that could serve to supplement the teachers’ knowledge.

SAEON’s Science Education programme, with its focus on teacher-support and school-based environmental monitoring programmes, is well positioned to provide the curriculum support that Dr Nduna-Watson is calling for.

SAEON’s exhibition stand, together with those of the NRF’s RISA (Research and Innovation, Support and Advancement) and National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, attracted considerable attention from the Summit delegates.

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