Sinoxolo Fama on a mission to get children to love mathematics

Sinoxolo Fama of Qonce is leading a mathematic and languages drive for grades 8 to 9 pupils with hopes for them to enter STEM careers.
Sinoxolo Fama of Qonce is leading a mathematic and languages drive for grades 8 to 9 pupils with hopes for them to enter STEM careers.

Sinoxolo Fama has created an after-school programme that benefits more than 300 pupils from Ndevana village in Qonce.

Fama spearheads the mathematics and languages drive which brings together pupils from three schools for extra classes on weekends.

The pupils are in grades 8 and 9 and come from Simzamile, Enoch Sontonga, and Mpumelelo senior secondary schools. 

They are taught basics in maths, English, and isiXhosa with the hope of taking up maths-led streams in high school and to be absorbed in Stem careers after matric. 

The 32-year-old works alongside 10 unemployed graduates who offer their services while waiting for employment opportunities.

“I saw a number of pupils from rural villages who fail mathematics, even if the [pass rate of the] subject is low.

“This is why we do not have critical and smart thinkers.”

Fama decried the low number of pupils who choose maths as a subject of choice.

He said only two out of 10 pupils he interacts with were likely to choose the subject when they get to high school.

“Getting mathematics basics helps them excel in the subject which will later assist them greatly to be absorbed in the labour market.

“I learnt that they are afraid to take the subject and they do not take it seriously.

“From my findings, it is because of lack of resources such as calculators, and other necessary equipment for the subject.”

The team’s objective is to get children to love mathematics and also to improve their language skills. 

“We believe mathematics is the parent of all subjects. When one understands the subject it makes it easier to master other subjects like accounting, geography, and others.

“The children who benefit from this cannot afford to pay for extra classes which is why we do it for free,” he said. 

Fama said he believes getting children to like and understand the importance of their subjects would help them achieve at least a 60% pass rate at matric level. 

“When the time comes to choose subject streams in grade 10, we want as many of them to choose mathematics as their first preference.

“We envision a future with mathematicians, engineers and many more to be born here.”

He said the graduates volunteer their services while awaiting employment opportunities.

“What we are doing has a positive affect. We also have a WhatsApp group which is there [to promote] parent involvement when it comes to homework and school assignments.

“They are able to discuss challenges that they face and we chip in to assist,”  Fama said. 

He said their aim was for children to speak and write both isiXhosa and English and to pass maths. 

“We do not believe in focusing on them when they are already in grade 12.

“It is important to start them young so that they [have a] chance of being absorbed by institutions of higher learning. 

“We have identified that they cannot speak and write English and Xhosa fluently and hence we are focused on this,” he said.

Fama said they wanted to make education “fashionable”.

“Parents and other stakeholders also help out with sandwiches and fruit. We do see the growing numbers and their interest as well.”

Fama was nominated by Jerome Mqadi.

“He initiated the programme for pupils to help them perform better in maths as it is one of the most challenging,” Mqadi said.

“It also fundamental for university entry. He does this from the goodness of his heart.”




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