South Peninsula High School offers a new subject. Photographer: Tracey Adams/Africa News Agency (ANA)
South Peninsula High School offers a new subject. Photographer: Tracey Adams/Africa News Agency (ANA)

Matrics write Marine Sciences for the first time in final exams

By Siyabonga Kalipa Time of article published Oct 21, 2021

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Cape Town – Some Grade 12 pupils will be writing Marine Sciences as one of their final matric exams for the first time this year.

The subject was launched as a pilot in some schools in the Western Cape two years ago.

Head of Education at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Russel Stevens, said they did their curriculum in 2015 and 2016, and it started to become official in 2019. Last year, it became part of school subjects.

With the subject being part of the final-year exams, Stevens said it was a significant milestone in the work towards the development of a subject which would eventually be implemented in schools across the country.

“It has been a privilege for the Aquarium to develop the Marine Sciences Curriculum. This project is gaining momentum, and the whole process has been very successful in putting the Two Oceans Aquarium on the map,” he said.

Stevens said both the national and provincial departments of Education were familiar with their programmes, and the significance of their offering in the South African education landscape.

He said the Two Oceans Aquarium had an active and respected Marine Sciences education unit, which over the past 20 years had offered enrichment courses.

Stevens said it is from these highly acclaimed and ever popular courses that the Marine Sciences curriculum for schools was developed.

He added that a significantly positive addition in response to Covid-19 challenges had been the introduction of an online teaching programme.

In another first, South Peninsula High School’s Marine Sciences pupil Boitumelo Medupe will be awarded the top Marine Sciences student in the school’s Valedictory event.

Teacher Matthew Schroeder said the pupils enjoyed the subject, and he was proud of the dedication they displayed as they had classes twice a week.

“I feel they should all pass and I am confident there will be a few who achieve distinctions,” he said.

Principal Zeid Baker said the subject had been neglected by the curriculum planners for far too long. He said the content was insightful and intensive and encapsulated a wide range of scientific knowledge.

“It has a bit of physical sciences, zoology, botany and geography all rolled into one. The subject fits perfectly into the curriculum taught in our country, situated at the southern tip of Africa, surrounded by our two oceans of contrasting diversity. The course, I am sure, will prepare any potential university student well for a BSc degree in Oceanography or Zoology,” he said.

Baker said the authors of the curriculum must be complimented on a fine and balanced curriculum.

Weekend Argus

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