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Celebrating a working model for education in Africa

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences South Africa (AIMS) celebrates a decade of academic excellence at a special graduation ceremony held today at the Muizenberg Pavilion in Cape Town. Forty-nine students from 21 African countries graduated, bringing the total number of graduates from AIMS since 2003 to 565, of which 30% are women. The event was attended by the organisation’s founder Professor Neil Turok and a number of dignitaries from academic institutions.

To mark the 10-year anniversary, the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI), the project through which AIMS centres are being expanded, will hold their first Global Alumni reunion titled; “Transforming Africa through mathematical sciences and knowledge-based enterprise”.

More than 225 participants from 44 countries are expected to gather in Muizenberg from 27 to 29 June for the conference, which will bring together researchers, African business and political leaders and AIMS alumni and leadership. Together they will discuss and create linkages for Africa’s transformation, assess the progress to date and carve the path forward for strengthening the quality and applicability of maths and science, with the aim to solve the development challenges on the continent and around the world.

“Investment in university level education in Africa is the fastest route to technological catch-up and economic development,” Executive Director of AIMS-NEI, Thierry Zomahoun said. “Although nearly one million students graduate from African universities each year, high-level training is generally unavailable, particularly in scientific and technical fields. There is a critical scarcity of mathematical and scientific expertise, which is adversely affecting all aspects of development, including education, science, industry and government.”

Highlights of the conference include discussions around the role of research in African development, creating a knowledge-based economy, gender in relation to science, entrepreneurship and an address by South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Naledi Pandor.

With a network of three centres in Ghana, Senegal and South Africa, AIMS has established itself as one of the world’s most innovative educational institutions for development-oriented maths and science post-graduate education. “The AIMS model is a proven, effective and award-winning model for innovative mathematical sciences education, research and outreach,” Zomahoun said.

The success of AIMS has been confirmed through a number of international and local awards including the UNESCO-Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum prize in 2012, the WISE award for innovation in education in 2010 and the 2008 TED prize.

ENDS

Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:
Beverley Houston

beverley@be-cause.co.za

082 824 8617 / 021 462 1723

On behalf of AIMS South Africa:

Barry Green, Director

On behalf of AIMS-NEI:

Mireille Massouka Bih

Director, Partnerships and Educational Outreach’

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