High school-based Nautical Science education has been given a major boost thanks to the South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) which has funded the development of a new online Nautical Science ‘textbook’ on the Maritime Studies South Africa website, www.maritimesa.org
The Grade 10-12 Nautical Science learning material has been developed with the needs of the South African learner in mind.
It will give high school learners taking a complex subject such as Nautical Science – which has specialised procedures and unique jargon – access to easy-to-understand content, illustrative graphics and photographs. Educators and anyone with an interest in Nautical Science will also be able to view the content.
The textbook features the option to ‘print to PDF’ for those who do not have access to a reliable, continuous internet link. Applications have been made to the Department of Basic Education to zero-rate the www.maritimesa.org website to assist students in gaining access to this important resource without the need for data or an internet connection.
According to SAIMI’s CEO Mr Odwa Mtati, “Growing and transforming South Africa’s maritime industry – and boosting employment and economic activity in the sector can be greatly supported by maritime education at school level. While this has been done in a handful of schools via the formal introduction of a maritime curriculum for Grades 10 to 12, we need to do more if we are to address the future skills needs of the industry.
“We also needed to urgently assist the Class of 2020 whose Nautical Science education had been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic and who will begin writing their final Nautical Science papers on 9 November 2020.”
In addition to the online textbook content, the www.maritimesa.org website also features a Grade 12 Nautical Science ‘Final Exam Video Tutorial’.
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Commenting on the significance of the project, SAIMI’s Mr Mtati, said: “On a macro level, the development of these learning materials is important, bearing in mind South Africa’s plans to use its vast ocean resources to grow its economy and create jobs.
“Realising the potential of the maritime industry in South Africa will require significant improvement in skills development and we believe this should be done, not only at tertiary or TVET level, but at high school level where we should cultivate an increased awareness of (and interest in) the maritime industry, as well as a love, respect and appreciation for the ocean.
“The online textbook was a priority as there are currently no printed Nautical Science textbooks available to Grade 10 – 12 learners and we urgently needed one which considered the language requirements of South African students.
“Internationally-published textbooks, whilst available, are both expensive and assume a language level higher than the language ability of the average South African whose mother tongue is not English.”
Owing to the practical nature of the subject, the Nautical Science e-textbook will be expanded to include explanatory videos by experts on the subject. Questions will also be added which will help the user test his/her knowledge. The aim is to complete the Grade 11 and 10 textbook content before the start of the 2021 academic year and to add videos to the site by mid-June 2021.
“Having the academic content available for all grades will assist learners in catching up on the work lost during the lockdown when schools were closed for several months and also when they were unable to return to school for a full week’s schooling. This will allow them to have a strong start to 2021,” Mr Mtati concluded.