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Expansion of maths support in Namibia

9 January 2017

International delegation outside School of Maths

An intensive maths school to tackle high drop-out rates among potential scientists in Namibia is expanding following a successful pilot jointly run by Cardiff University and the University of Namibia (UNAM).

Science degree students at UNAM must pass mathematics modules but a lack of the required maths skills has led to many failing to complete their courses.

Around 70 UNAM students took part in a maths summer school in 2016, organised by Cardiff University and UNAM, to improve their skills, knowledge and confidence.

The pilot proved a success so a second maths school will run from 11-20 January 2017 – summer in Namibia – with up to 120 students expected to attend.

The intensive course is part of Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project, an engagement project which works with UNAM on a range of activities involving education, health and science.

Dr Rob Wilson, who is Dean of Education Innovation at Cardiff University and part of the School of Mathematics, said: “Last year’s pilot was very well received by both the students and UNAM which is why they wanted to extend the programme this year.

“We’re planning for 120 students this year so that we can extend the reach as much as possible..."

Dr Robert Wilson

“We want to build the confidence of the students as well as refreshing practical mathematics ideas.”

Dr Robert WilsonSenior Lecturer

It is hoped that the summer school, held at UNAM’s Windhoek campus, will become a regular part of the UNAM provision.

Dr Wilson will travel to Namibia with School of Mathematics colleague Dr Vince Knight and four postgraduate students to run the summer school alongside UNAM staff, including UNAM Head of Mathematics Dr Martin Mugochi.

Dr Mugochi said: “The Department of Mathematics at UNAM is pleased with the strong partnership forged with the School of Mathematics at Cardiff University through the efforts of Dr Wilson, Dr Knight, Phoenix Project lead Prof Judith Hall and others.

“We launched the first mathematics summer school in January 2016 targeted at attitude improvement and innovative practices in teaching first-year mathematics..."

“We look forward to another great event with the January 2017 mathematics summer school, and hope to spread the net wider - in the near future - to include mathematics students and colleagues from the UNAM centres and campuses across Namibia.”

Dr Martin MugochiUNAM Head of Mathematics

The Phoenix Project, which supports the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme, is a mutually beneficial collaboration between Cardiff University and UNAM.

It is one of Cardiff University’s flagship engagement projects, otherwise known as the Transforming Communities programme, which work with communities in Cardiff, Wales and beyond in areas including health, education and wellbeing.

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