Dr Sudan Hansraj, a senior lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (SMSCS) at UKZN, has been appointed to a third term on the Assessment Standards Committee of the Umalusi Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training.
The Council sets and monitors standards for general and further education and training in South Africa by developing and managing a sub-framework of qualifications for general and further education and training, and for quality assurance thereof.
The Assessment Standards Committee conducts the process of standardisation and moderation of internal assessment and examination results for all qualifications that Umalusi certifies. With the support of the Quality Assurance of Assessment Unit, it also provides guidance on the standard and quality of assessments for qualifications, assessment standards and statistical research.
Hansraj, who has been at UKZN in the Discipline of Mathematics since 2002 where he was an academic leader for four and a half years, has served various terms on Umalusi from 2002 to 2006, 2014 to 2018 and currently from 2018 to 2022. He has served on the UKZN Institutional Forum, including as Chairperson. He has also been a member of the UKZN Senior Appointments Committee and Senate.
Hansraj has taught Mathematics from primary school level to PhD level and at UKZN has taught all levels of undergraduate and honours students in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics, including large classes of engineers at Howard College. He has graduated eight MSc and PhD students in Applied Mathematics and co-supervised 15 Masters students in Mathematics Education at Edgewood.
His technology-rich approach to teaching includes websites and short videos, and has included the development of a write-in workbook for first year engineers to assist weaker students. The high school study material he has produced over the past 18 years has been read by more than one million learners.
Hansraj is passionate about Mathematics education, has written several articles on the topic and has been invited as a plenary speaker at teaching conferences throughout Africa. He has organised conferences on the teaching of university mathematics and the role of decolonisation, and has been invited to conduct a workshop with University of Zululand’s Mathematics Department to improve undergrad pass-rates.
Hansraj’s research involves classical general relativity and its extensions, about which he has authored around 40 research articles, with a number appearing in top ranked journals in Mathematical Physics. He collaborates with scientists locally and overseas and has presented conference papers at about 40 international conferences, as well as at numerous local meetings. His current area of scientific inquiry is the Lovelock and Einstein-Gauss-Bonnet higher curvature theory of the gravitational field.
The National Research Foundation-rated researcher has served as the Vice-Chairperson of the South African Mathematics Foundation Management Committee, is a moderator for the South African Mathematics Olympiad and has served as Committee Chair of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa for 15 years. He also co-ordinates and examines the South African Mathematics Team Challenge and the South African Tertiary Mathematics Challenge.
Words: Christine Cuénod