Prof Herman van der Merwe


Everybody benefits


By empowering learners to be mathematically competent and efficient, the Vaal Triangle Campus is proactively addressing the dire skills need of the country, says Prof Herman van der Merwe, executive dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology.


“Mathematics, along with science, is very important to the economy and the further development of our country.


“School learners who want to further their studies or work in sectors like engineering, natural sciences, information technology and medicine have to pass mathematics, science or both if they are to qualify for further studies in these fields.


“Our economy needs doctors, engineers, architects, actuaries and information technology specialists, and I believe that as a university and as a campus, we are heeding the call to address this skills deficit.”


Bridge the
mathematical gap

What a disaster. Your child’s dream of studying at the NWU’s Vaal Triangle Campus so that she can become an IT programmer is shattered because her marks for mathematics in the final matriculation exam aren’t high enough.

Don’t fear – the campus offers her a second chance through its Bridging the Mathematical Gap programme.



“This  programme aims to assist students to improve their performance in mathematics and allows them access to degree programmes that require a sound mathematical basis, such as BCom and BSc IT,” explains Prof Herman van der Merwe, executive dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology.


Earning enough points


As at all South African universities, prospective NWU students also have to comply with the required Academic Performance Scale (APS) for a particular degree.


“If a prospective student lacks only one point on his or her APS, or if it is only the lower-than-required mark for mathematics that prevents admission, such a student can be admitted provisionally,” says Daleen Gerber, director of the School of Information Technology. (Click here to read more about the APS.)


Then, after passing the Bridging the Mathematical Gap programme at the beginning of an academic year, the student may enrol for the ordinary programmes within the BCom field and BSc IT.


If a student does not pass the bridging programme, but has a final mark of between 40% and 49%, he or she may enrol in one of the extended programmes offered on the campus. (In an extended programme students spread their courses over four rather than three years.)


Covering the basics


The bridging programme’s syllabus covers the basic mathematical concepts which are taught from Grade 8 onwards and the application of these concepts in accordance with the outcomes specified in the Grade 12 curriculum. In short: its intensified focus on the entire mathematical spectrum serves as pre-knowledge for the mathematics modules in the BSc IT and BCom curricula.


In the case of a degree programme such as BSc IT, mathematics is the cornerstone of all natural sciences subjects; in BCom programmes, mathematics is used to calculate logarithms and exponential functions, for example.



The NWU & U


Please send us your comments, suggestions and any other contributions you would like to make, for instance photographs or news snippets.


We value your opinions and input – after all, the NWU & U belongs to us all.






Next Article

previous article



more info

Daleen Gerber


More about the programme


Introduced in 2014 and offered within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology, the Bridging the Mathematical Gap course is presented for six hours a day for a two-week period, Saturdays included. During this time students receive intensive coaching in groups and also individually. They write various class tests and two exam papers to ascertain their level of insight.


“The programme sets a minimum required pass rate of 50% for all participants, but I am pleased to say that so far we have maintained a pass rate of 80%,” says Daleen Gerber, director of the School of Information Technology.


NWU & U  |

NWU & U  |