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WWF-SASSI message now part of marine sciences school curriculum

WWF South Africa’s Southern Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative (WWF-SASSI) has been incorporated into a new school subject – with the first matric candidates set to write exams in Marine Sciences this year.

This is after the education team at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation successfully wrote a Marine Sciences curriculum for Grades 10 to 12 that was approved by the South African Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, in 2019.

The subject has been piloted at six schools (with 550 learners) in the Western Cape at Grade 10 level and is now being rolled out to schools in other provinces. This year the first matric candidates from these pilot schools will be writing exams in Marine Sciences as a Grade 12 subject.

Russel Stevens, head of education at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, explained that Marine Sciences is now being offered as an online course to any interested students starting this year. By arrangement with their school, learners who are interested in taking this subject may now do so as one of their seven matric subjects or an additional eighth subject. The subject is also open to adults who are currently working in marine tourism or a similar space.

Marine Sciences is made up of a range of topics designed to educate students about the complex relationships that affect the ocean and how this influences marine and land-based life. It’s an ideal choice for those interested in further study or a career in ocean-based industries.

The subject looks at the realms of water, rocks, sediments, air and living organisms that inhabit the ocean and their engagements with each other. It also draws attention to ocean ecosystems and their sensitivity to human activity and resource use.

The course equips students with a thorough understanding of how to think about ways to conserve and sustain the ocean for the future and has four main strands:

  • oceanography
  • marine biology
  • ecology
  • humans and the ocean

The issue of sustainability is foregrounded in the teaching of the entire subject and the WWF-SASSI message about sustainable seafood consumption features multiple times.

Pavitray Pillay, manager of the WWF-SASSI programme, commented: “We couldn’t be more thrilled about getting our message in front of learners who will become the ocean guardians of the future. This is a valuable step towards creating increased awareness among decision makers and the public about the complex relationships that affect the ocean, and ultimately our own wellbeing.”


A common dolphin pod feeding on sardines off East London highlight the interconnectedness of all marine life.

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