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Community engagement and social impact

Community engagement, in the form of service learning, community-based research and community outreach, is a core academic function of the Faculty. As such the Faculty’s teaching, learning and research competence is utilized to build mutually beneficial relationships with various communities in areas of discipline strength and community needs.

The Faculty is involved in a wide range of community outreach programmes. Staff is encouraged to actively pursue community engaged opportunities that will benefit the community, will promote scholarship, their discipline, Faculty and the University, and that will enrich their academic experience and profiles.


In terms of community outreach, colleagues in the Biochemistry Department are involved in numerous activities, including radio talks and TV presentations (Drs L Esterhuizen, E Mukwevho and N Sanabria), HIV/AIDS awareness, cancer awareness (CANSA shavathon), outreach to high school learners (via Scientiae@UJ and ‘Genes in a Bottle’ activities) for recruitment purposes, spreading the Gospel and distribution of Bibles to UJ staff, assisting rape victims via the ‘Hand Bag’ project, and supporting a soup kitchen (Fred & Martie se sopkombuis) helping disadvantaged children.  

Dr L Piater is involved in the ‘A-team’ project that involves aiding and training of Science and Biology teachers in collaboration with the Faculty of Education and Dr G Koorsen is involved in Dance for a Cure, a charity promoting cervical cancer awareness.  We are also serious about reducing our carbon footprint, and the Department has established an in-house recycling station, encouraging our students to recycle all their laboratory (safe) disposable plasticware, glassware, paper, print cartridges, etc.  


Mathematics Olympiad Training Programme 

The Mathematics Department at the University of Johannesburg in collaboration with The South African Mathematical Foundation (SAMF) and the Department of Science and Technology as a sponsor, has started a Mathematics Olympiad Training Programme. This programme is aimed at promoting mathematics comprehension at school level in an interactive and informal environment. The programme focuses on training for grade 7-9 (Junior) and grade10-12 (senior) learners for the annual Harmony Mathematics Olympiad. This programme is free of charge and funding is available for learners from disadvantaged communities in the form of a travel allowance 

UJ Mathematics Learning Centre 

The UJ Mathematics Learning Centre aims to provide expert Tutoring within all the fields and levels of Mathematics, as prescribed in the courses taught in the Department of Mathematics. 

The facility covers approximately 45 m2 and provides comfortable seating and tables for 30 students at a time. The format of Tutoring includes both group and one-on-one Tutoring, by means of whiteboards, blackboards, glass panes, overhead projectors and media projectors. 

The Mathematics Learning Centre Computer Lab offer students the opportunity to access the electronic learning environment and boasts full course lecture videos in various languages. 

Our 35 enthusiastic Tutors are recognisable by a tutor badge and provide visiting students with the opportunity to rate their service. 

Also located within the Tutor Centre is fully stocked bookshelves with a comprehensive collection of past class tests, semester tests and examination papers. These are provided free of charge to students. 

Students also have the use of all the prescribed Textbooks and corresponding Solution Manuals within the Tutor Centre. 

Revision classes on some undergraduate course are presented quarterly in preparation for examinations. 

Operating Times

  • Mondays, 10:00-15:45
  • Tuesdays to Thursdays, 08:50-15:25
  • Fridays, 08:50-12:05


A number of annual events are organised in order to stimulate the interests of the learners in science. These events fit in with the school program and will usually not be held during exam times. Individual presentations for schools are also organised when requested. Since 2002 practical sessions are held to give learners the opportunity to do experiments themselves. These sessions are very popular, but only a limited number of learners can be accommodated – depending on the size of the laboratory. Bookings for participation in these practical sessions are essential. Attendance is free of charge, but for late cancellation or not attending the session booked for, an account will be send to the relevant school.


Community outreach of the Department of Zoology in Kliptown, Soweto.

The Department of Zoology first became involved with the Kliptown Youth Programme (KYP) in 2011. During the years that followed, various community outreach activities were organized by staff members of the department for learners of the KYP. These included an ecology-based workshop for high school learners, a tutoring session on life science-related subjects, as well as an honours-level research project that investigated the biological integrity of the Klipspruit River and where the KYP learners were involved in the macro-invertebrate and fish sampling activities. KYP representatives also attended the annual Honours Colloquium of the Department of Zoology where the final results of the project were presented.

The Department of Zoology organized its annual community engagement activity on 25 April 2015 for learners from the Kliptown Youth Programme (KYP) in Soweto. This initiative started in 2013 and the focus is primarily on creating awareness about water pollution and water quality monitoring through educational activities. 

The Klipspruit is a highly polluted river that flows through Kliptown, Soweto, near Johannesburg. Consequently, there is a potential health concern for the people using the river for various activities and for the animals that inhabit this aquatic ecosystem. This was the motivation for the research projects of students Jaco du Plessis (Hons) and Thato Bengu (MSc) supervised by Dr Cobus van Dyk from the Department of Zoology. Both students are currently doing their respective research projects on aspects of the biological integrity of the Klipspruit and its tributaries. These studies include water quality analyses, macro-invertebrate analyses as well as fish health assessments.

Contact person

Dr JC van Dyk

Soweto Science Centre

The Soweto Science Centre was established on the Soweto campus to support the teaching and learning of Science. Now headed by Dr Sam Ramaila, the appointment of the Director of the Centre (Prof Muronga) in 2010 enhanced the facility as a Centre of Excellence for provision of additional Mathematics, Physical Science and Life Sciences to learners in the surrounding areas of the Soweto Campus. The Centre's mobile lab has reached out to learners as far out as Limpopo. 

See video on Soweto Science Centre

Other community services on a smaller scale were also rendered by departmental staff – for example, tutoring primary and high school students. ​