8 January 2013

South Africa: Health Deputy Minister Dr Gwen Ramokgopa Praises Edward Phatudi School 2012 Matriculants

press release

This morning, the teaching staff and School Governing Body of Edward Phatudi Comprehensive School invited the Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa to thank her for the role she played in supporting the school and encouraging the teaching staff to go an extra mile in their work.

The school has improved substantially in its overall matric performance compared to 2011 to become one of the top performing schools in Gauteng during 2012 with a pass rate of 90.47%. According to the school principal, in 2011 the passing rate for Maths and Science was 36.6% and 17% respectively. In 2012 Maths improved to 59.7% and Science to 55%.

Dr Ramokgopa took a special interest in the school in 2011 when the school performed poorly, and frequently visited the staff to encourage them. Mr Mike Masango attributed the good performance of the school to the role of Dr Ramokgopa amongst others.

The small event was attended by local politicians and members of Parliament.

The school was established in 1990 with a capacity of 1130 learners. Because the community regard the school as one of the best schools in the area, the school has been enrolling an average of 1257 for the past three years.

In her remarks, the Deputy Minister of Health spoke about the importance of mathematics and science. She said that "in today's world, biologists and professionals in the field of medical sciences use the concepts of mathematics, its theorems, and formulas, among others in obtaining quantitative measures and analysing their studies in quantity along with quality. Many scientific medical equipment and machines have been designed keeping the applications of mathematics in mind. Biologists use mathematics to derive quantitative data from any medical study, such as estimating the number of genes that are involved in inheriting a particular trail from the parents to the child".

According to Ramokgopa, the concepts and theories of mathematics are being applied to almost all aspects of medical sciences. "There are some fields of study under medical sciences where mathematics has found greater scope. These fields are clinical research, biotechnology, and genetics. To discuss first, let's talk about how mathematics and its sub branches play an important role in the study of genetics", she said.

"In the study of genetics, the two most important sub-sections of mathematics that play a major role are statistics and probability. Through probability, its formulas and applications, people working in genetics understand the mechanism of meiosis, forming of egg cells and the sperm, and the process of inheritance, among others. They also get an understanding of how phenotypes (observable diseases) and genotypes (the DNA sequences) are related to each other through the study of probability distributions. They also conduct the analysis and study of genetic determinants through the applications of statistics and its methods and principles. Owing to this reason, a student who wishes to pursue a higher education degree or course in Medical studies should have studied Mathematics at class 12 level", Ramokgopa emphasised.

According to Ramokgopa, "Another advantage that the study of mathematics in medicine and biology provides is to mathematical modellers. Mathematical modelling refers to looking and studying the biological systems and the medical phenomena through the study of mathematics by applying its principles and theorems. Mathematics has also shown its worth in testing out new ideas in the field of medicine. This has been or high importance in the study of cancerous and tumour cells. Medical practitioners have been successful in understanding the direction in which cancerous cells potentially grow inside the living body with the help of a model strictly based on mathematics".

"Our country needs more and more medical doctors and other medical professionals. The National Department of Health in collaboration with provincial departments and the private sector is working hard to offer deserving students bursaries to study medicine. It is for this reason the I would like to sincerely congratulate the staff, School Governing Body, Grade 12 learners of Edward Phatudi School for their achievement", concluded Ramokgopa.

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