There’s a light that comes on inside Jacob obejane when he talks about mathematics, science and children. His face brightens, his eyes sparkle and the more he says, the faster he
speaks. It is not surprising therefore, to hear that since the introduction of the Master Maths Programme in 1998, more than 70 learners achieved distinctions in Grade 12. On average, every year eight to 10 of the programme’s Grade 12 learners pass mathe- matics with distinction.
“Last year, we had a learner Ngobeni Jairos from Ntshuxeko High School who achieved 97% in maths and 95% in Physical Science. He passed all 7 subjects with distinctions!”
The Master Maths Programme is an e-learning franchise that supplements and supports the school curriculum. “Learners control their own pace and space,” says Jacob. Learning takes place in a class room where each learner has access to a computer and 10 learners share a tutor. Each learner follows his or her own worksheet until they have been assessed competent to move onto the next worksheet. The Foundation though, have 50 learners to three tutors, but Jacob is confident they can cope as they have “been doing this for a long time now.”
Learning takes place after school and during school holidays, Monday to Friday. The learners are selected at the end of Grade 7 and stay with the programme until the end of Grade 12. If a learner leaves before Grade 12, his or her place is taken by another learner up to Grade 11. Jacob holds an honours degree in mathematics and honed his skills at the Mapulaneng College of Education as a lecturer before he joined the Palabora Foundation 12 years ago. His love for mathematics was apparent from an early age and his teachers often referred classmates to him for help.
“God revealed a secret to me so that when I speak to the learners I can go into the nest detail and I can reveal the subject well, in a simple manner, so that they can understand.”
“My desire is for learners to get good symbols in maths and then go on to university, get a degree and then come back where they can help break the poverty in the communities. I strongly believe in the saying: “if you plan for a year, you plant maize; if you plan for 10 years, you plant a tree; but if you plan for the future, you educate a child.”
“ Through the Master Maths Programme we are educating the future.”