State of Physical Science Teaching in South Africa. “Case for Einstein’s Physics.”

We, South Africans, needs to find a solution to the deterioration of Mathematics and Science. Our performance at grade 12 has been deteriorating significantly over time. One must look at the amount of investment China and Korea has put into education of mathematics and science. We should find strategies to improve for our country.

I must confess, I struggled with both subjects. My interest to understand nature of reality remains unabated. Classical Physics was my starting point until a new kid on the block, discovery of Quantum Mechanics.  I wondered if whether Department of Education (DBE) is introducing Quantum Mechanics in the curriculum.

I went through Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement of Department of Basic Education (DBE) which is a National Curriculum Statement. It stipulates policy on curriculum and assessment in the schooling sector.

DBE defines Physical Science learning areas as to investigate physical and chemical phenomena. The main areas of knowledge includes Matter and Materials , Chemical Systems , Chemical Change, Mechanics,  Waves, Sound and Light and Electricity and Magnetism. Simply put it is Classical Physics and Chemistry. The are some introduction of building blocks of fundamental concepts of quantum mechanism.  I worry that it is not packaged to prepare learners for the quantum mechanics world. It leaves out a huge part of quantum mechanics as discovered by Einstein in 1905.

Quantum mechanics is the theoretical basis of modern physics that explains the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level.

  • In 1900, Planck made the assumption that energy was made of individual units, or quanta.
  • In 1905, Albert Einstein theorized that not just the energy, but the radiation itself was quantized in the same manner.
  • In 1924, Louis de Broglie proposed that there is no fundamental difference in the makeup and behavior of energy and matter; on the atomic and subatomic level either may behave as if made of either particles or waves.  

Quantum Mechanics has helped us to understand some of the fundamentals of Physics which were not understood up to the early 1900. If someone were to ask us the daily life or real-life examples of Quantum Physics, most of us would be totally unaware of it.

Things which depend upon Quantum Physics for their operation includes Toaster, Fluorescent Light, Computer & Mobile Phone, Biological Compass, Transistor, Laser, Microscopy,  Global Positioning System (GPS), Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Telecommunication. 

We do not fully know what is happening in the Quantum World.  Physicists predict that this would continue to allude is. We should expect even stranger and more shocking discoveries.

I think DBE should consider updating CAPS…it would inspire new ideas that our country needs.

If you think you understand quantum mechanics the you do not understand quanum mechanics, Neils Bohr, 1962

About Motseki Majake

I am insurance professional helping clients with mass market solutions.
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