South Africa Drops Mathematics Pass Mark To 20% For Students In Basic Schools

By Kevin Mwanza Published: December 10, 2016, 6:28 am
financial inclusion Africa South AfricaStudents use their mobile phones after class at Wits University, Johannesburg, phys.org

South Africa will promote pupils who score 20 percent in Mathematics from Grades 7 and 9 to Grade 10 or Further Education Training (FET) after the government lowered the Mathematics pass mark from 40 percent, as the nation steps up efforts to deal with one of its biggest problems in the education sector.

Authorities in the Western Cape Province however, said the mark should be adjusted to 30 percent, adding that it will engage with the nation’s education authorities with plans to increase it.

“Mathematics is a huge problem in our society. The quality and number of passes in mathematics is a challenge,” Brian Schreuder told Cape Talk.

The nation’s Department of Basic Education issued the new directive in a circular released last week.

Schreuder said that the subject has been a big hurdle to pupils’ progression into Grade 10, adding that most of them pass the six units but fail in mathematics.

He added that pupils who excel in other areas should not be allowed to take maths as a subject unless they take mathematics literacy, Eyewitness News reported.

The move may be part of the government’s plans to reform its basic education sector.

In January, Angie Motshekga, the Basic Education minister described the system as a catastrophic national disaster that needed basic reforms to improve numeracy and literacy levels amongst learners, Buzz SouthAfrica reported.

Last year, a research by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), an advisory firm showed that South African learners perform dismally in maths, science and reading.

At least 60 percent of people teaching mathematics in Africa’s biggest economy, from Grades 1 to 6, failed in tests at the grade levels they are teach, according to the research.

The firm said that the nation needed to improve the quality of its teachers.

South Africa is ranked second worst globally in basic maths and science, Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) showed.

The country placed below Morocco, Egypt and Botswana in the study that included 59 nations, according to the research.

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