History 1992 to 2023


in January 1992, a Workshop on Research in Science and Mathematics Education was held at the Cathedral Peak Hotel in the Drakensburg. This workshop was organised by Diane Grayson, with assistance from John Volmink and Aletta Zietsman. About 60 participants came from many parts of South Africa and a few from neighbouring Southern African countries. They ranged from scientists and mathematicians, with little familiarity with science or mathematics education, to science and mathematics educators who had been working in the field for much of their working lives. The aims of the workshop were to develop a sense of community amongst those who were doing research in science and mathematics education and to provide a forum for those who wanted to enter into research in science and mathematics education.

At the end of the workshop a proposal was put forward and accepted that an association should be formed to promote mathematics and science education research. Thus, was born the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (SAARMSE).

The first SAARMSE meeting was held at Rhodes University in January 1993. At that meeting a constitution was ratified, John Volmink was elected as Chair of the Association and Vijay Reddy as Chair-Elect. During the years that followed, the Development of the Association and Research Capacity Building in the region were identified as priorities of the Association. A database of researchers was developed, a newsletter was started and Research Development Officers were elected to run research development workshops across the region. A Research Capacity Building committee, (RCBC), was formed to run an annual Research School. In 2000, at the SAARMSE AGM it was agreed to change its name to SAARMSTE, to include the growing interest in Technology Education.

Until 1998 all conferences were held in South Africa. As the numbers of participants from other countries in the region grew, it became clear that conferences should be hosted in other countries. In 1999, Zimbabwe hosted the first SAARMSE conference outside of South Africa. This led to the formation of SAARMSTE Chapters as a means of connecting broader membership with each other and with the activities of SAARMSTE more generally.

In 1998, SAARMSTE began a journal called the SAARMSTE journal, in order to disseminate the research of the Association members. Professor Meshach Ogunniyi was the founding editor. In 2003, the name of the journal was changed to the African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (AJRMSTE). This change reflected a shift in purpose, as the journal opened itself increasingly to articles and concerns from across Africa.

In 2001 work started on a new constitution. This culminated in the ratification in 2003, The new constitution acknowledges the new structure of SAARMSTE with chapter representatives on the Executive and enables continuity by having the President serve an extra year as the “Past-President”. It is clear how far SAARMSTE has come in the past 15 years. Although many of the aims are ongoing, many have been achieved – there is a vibrant community of researchers in the region, it has a research school for doctoral students, its members interact with curriculum and policy developments in the region, and make contributions to the international research community.

In 2019, a special meeting was called to amend and ratify the Constitution when the Association applied for, and obtained, a certificate as a Non-Profit Organisation, (NPO).

2021 brought about the first SAARMSTE VIRTUAL Conference. A successful event which included programme co-Chairs, international and regional who facilitated themed sessions. See 2021 Programme for more details.

In 2022 the 2nd Virtual Conference enlarged and improved its Conference Programme with facilitated themed sessions, resulting in a rich and well-informed panel of experts, packed with information and food for thought. 

2023 saw SAARMSTE’s annual conference go ‘Hybrid’ at the host  University of Free State, Bloemfontein. A near return to the days of ‘Face-to-Face’ meetings for colleagues within Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. 


Is to advance research in mathematics, science and technology education (hereinafter “MSTE”) in Southern Africa. To:

  • foster a sense of community among researchers in MSTE;
  • promote research to improve and develop MSTE programmes in response to current and future needs;
  • seek representation in relevant MSTE policy-making bodies;
  • make research in MSTE available and accessible to policy makers and practitioners;
  • organise conferences at which the results of MSTE research are presented;
  • assist in the development of research skills of those interested in entering the MSTE field, and to develop further expertise in that field by means of organizing workshops, short courses and exchange visits;
  • liaise with other MSTE bodies;
  • provide avenues for local publication of the findings of research in MSTE;
  • build an open forum for debate encompassing different MSTE research paradigms;
  • encourage discussion and research around key issues in MSTE;
  • other means as the members in general meeting may determine.

In addition, SAARMSTE:

  • encourages researchers, in MSTE, to publish in the accredited academic journal, the African Journal for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (AJRMSTE),
  • welcomes regional and international membership,
  • coordinates and presents annual conferences within Southern Africa,
  • interacts with policy makers in MSTE in the region. Any person with an interest in research in MSTE in the Southern African region should belong to this dynamic association,.
  • conducts research capacity building events across the region, which includes an annual Research School.


History of SAARMSTE Awards

(2013 – 2024)

Two awards may be awarded at the Gala Conference Dinner of the Annual Conference. These are:

Early Career Publication Award

 An emerging published researcher in the early part of his/her career for a remarkable and excellent report in the AJRMSTE.

Exceptional Service to SAARMSTE Award

An acknowledgement to a SAARMSTE member who is found to have made a substantive contribution to a range of SAARMSTE activities and to the SAARMSTE as an organisation.


Early Career Publication Award is recommended by the Chief Editor of the AJRMSTE.

Nominations for the Exceptional Service to SAARMSTE Award should be sent in the form of a motivation letter to the Association Secretariat at: saarmste@gmail.com

The deadline for nominations is the end of October for the following year.

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