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20 Oct 2020

Marine Science offered as 8th subject for Grade 10 in 2021

(Southlands Sun) Picture: Marine Science connects the realms of water, rocks, sediments, air, living organisms that inhabit the ocean, and their engagements with one another.

THOMAS More College is taking another step towards preparing tomorrow’s leaders today. The school will now be offering marine science to Grade 10 pupils from schools in the greater Durban area as an additional subject.  If you have ever dreamed of becoming a marine biologist, this may be the start of your dream becoming a reality. Marine Science is a new FET (Grades 10 to 12) subject that has been developed by the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town and was approved by the Department of Education in 2019.

This subject is being offered at a Grade 10 level at six pilot schools, three in the Western Cape and Gauteng respectively this year. Learners at these schools will be the first South Africans to write marine sciences as a Grade 12 matric subject in 2022. In 2021, the subject will be available to all interested Grade 10 pupils from schools in the greater Durban area. By arrangement with their school, pupils may take the subject as an additional eighth subject. The subject will run after school twice a week for two hours, throughout the school year. There will be practical sessions that will be arranged for three or four days, for example during two school holidays of each year.

Marine sciences consists of a range of topics woven together in a transdisciplinary subject, designed to educate learners who have an interest in the ocean, its workings, and the ocean’s influence on marine and land-based life. It is an ideal subject for those wishing to be employed in ocean-based industries after matric or those wishing to study further in the field of marine sciences. Marine science connects the realms of water, rocks, sediments, air, living organisms that inhabit the ocean, and their engagements with one another.

It draws attention to ocean ecosystems and their sensitivity to human activity and resource use. Decision-makers and the public need an increased awareness about the complex relationships that affect the ocean. This course will equip pupils with a thorough understanding of ways to conserve and sustain the ocean for the future. The subject consists of the following four strands:

Oceanography: Marine geology, geography, chemistry and physics that explain:

Chemical composition and properties of sea water, and the effects of pollutants on ocean life

Ways in which the ocean acts as a driver of weather and climate

Diving science, waves, tides and currents.

Marine biology: Investigates classification, fundamental biology, marine biodiversity, evolutionary processes and organism adaptations to their environments.

Ecology: Explores ecosystems such as rocky shores, kelp forests and sandy beaches through ecological concepts including nutrient cycles and food chains.

Humans and the ocean:

Marine careers

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as a model for sustainably managing ocean resources

Harvesting of renewable and non-renewable ocean resources

The importance of research in understanding the ocean and the effects of human activities

Climate change and ocean acidification.

Sustainability is foregrounded in the teaching of the entire subject. A maximum of 40 suitable candi­dates will be selected for the Thomas More College node, and the following criteria will apply:

Applications are open to learners who will be in Grade 10 in 2021.

Candidates must be taking Grade 10 mathematics and physical sciences.

Have reliable transport to ensure attendance of the programme.

Marine sciences must not interfere with their other subjects.

Applicants need to submit the following by Friday, 30 October, to Dr Gary Robson, who will be responsible for the marine sciences in the greater Durban area:

A letter of motivation as to why you are interested in studying marine sciences

A supporting letter from a geography, natural sciences teacher or their grade head, recommending the learner and approving the application

A certified copy of their Grade 9 June report

A letter from their parent or guardian supporting the application, undertaking to arrange transport and to agree to an IRO payment of the after-school marine sciences fees.

The cost of the course is available on request. For more information, email Dr Robson at grobson@thomasmore.co.za.