Marine science has been added as a school subject for grade 10s. Photo: Tom Fisk/Pexels
Marine science has been added as a school subject for grade 10s. Photo: Tom Fisk/Pexels

Grade 9s can now consider marine science among their subject choices

By Zodidi Dano Time of article published Aug 23, 2021

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IT IS that time of the year when grade nines are expected to make their first big career choice, which is choosing their subjects for matric.

The Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation is using this time to remind this group of learners that marine science can be chosen as an eighth subject choice for 2022. Marine science is already being presented in some node schools and is also available for online study.

Marine science was first offered in three node schools in the Western Cape in 2019. The following year, it was recognised as an official school subject, and in 2021 it was included in the school curriculum. Since then, a number of students have been receiving tuition/instruction in the subject at the node schools and through the foundation’s online learning programme.

Xavier Zylstra, the deputy head of education at the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation, said the subject was perfect for learners who were passionate about the ocean and ocean life. For learners who would like to go into a career involving marine biology or oceanography, this was one of their steps to university.

“Even if you are not aiming for a career in marine biology and oceanography, the content and many academic skills you will learn will equip you to succeed in tertiary studies in other fields. You will also be a knowledgeable amateur marine biologist, with the ability to identify, to some extent, most organisms that you can expect to see while rock-pooling or snorkelling along the South African coastline,” said Zylstra.

For learners who want to take the subject online, facilitation of the course is done via Zoom and the foundation’s e-learning platform.

The course requires a commitment of four hours a week, which is broken down into two two-hour sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays. The course also has a practical learning component that will take place during the public school holidays. Examinations are written at the students’ local school or at a designated examination centre. The starting date for the next intake is January 24, 2022.

“It should be understood that only half of the subject content of the course is marine biology, while there are also components of physical science, geography, ecology and human impacts on the planet/ocean. Your marine-related knowledge will enable you to make ocean-friendly decisions in a range of fields, like maritime economics, environmental law and a broad range of other careers directly or indirectly related to the ocean,” said Zylstra.

Westerford High School pupil Stellina van Huyssteen said: “I took marine science because I’m passionate about the ocean and all its life, and learning about it is not only fascinating, but also helps me to protect it, as well as creating many opportunities for me in the future.”

Special information session

All learners, teachers and other parties who are interested in learning more about marine sciences as a subject are invited to attend an online information session at 6pm on August 24. Registration for the session can be done here.

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