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DBE to improve Mathematics performance rates through the Integrated National Strategy for MST Education

Mr Seliki Tlhabane, Chief Director for MST and Curriculum Enhancement Programmes, declared 2023 as the Year of Mathematics saying that, “the Mathematics target for 2023 is to attain the 60% mark to improve from a 55.0% average in 2022, and for distinctions rates to improve. We have to move beyond only focusing STEM, highlighting, the integration of ICT in education”. During his presentation on the Integrated National Strategy for MST Education for 2019 – 2023, he explained that the Strategy was developed as a Cabinet Directive in collaboration with the Departments of Higher Education and Training and Science and Innovation, setting plans and targets for Grade R –12 performance with a signed Protocol Agreement for the responsibilities of each department. In addition, High Impact Interventions have been identified to improve foundations at GET Level. All nine PEDs have, in turn, developed their MST Implementation Plans with their own High Impact Interventions prioritising their provincial context.

He listed the key activities that have been identified for the successful implementation of the Strategy. These include the establishment of MST Directorates and MST Institutes both at the national and provincial levels. The Continuous Review of MST curriculum offerings responding to the skills required for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in both GET and FET phases is equally critical to ensure that appropriate content and methodology in teaching and learning is evident in all classrooms. In this respect, significant developments have been made in the development of a Mathematics Framework which is directed at introducing a balanced and a multi-dimensional approach for the teaching of Mathematics in South Africa and which paves the way for creativity, innovation, problem solving and conceptual understanding in a dynamic classroom setting.

The introduction of skills required for the 21st Century must be in line with STEM subjects, which include Ocean and Marine Engineering; Aerospace Engineering; Coding and Robotics; and Entrepreneurship to name but a few. Teacher Development remains a critical dimension of the Strategy and needs to be based on an audit of teacher competency levels and the development of appropriate programmes based on content and methodology to provide teacher development on a continuous basis. This audit will be conducted during 2023. Subject Advisors remains key to identify and support MST teachers in schools. The acceleration of Academic, Technical and Occupational Schools will increase accessibility to Focus Schools of learning for all learners particularly in Mathematics, Science and Technology with greater emphasis on several low participating subjects, including Agricultural Sciences and Technology. National and International Assessments and Monitoring Tools including, TIMSS and SACMEQ, will continue to be used as a means of monitoring the successes and challenges in the implementation of the MST Education Strategy to provide appropriate and timeous support in critical areas.

“For the FET Phase, Mathematics participation rates have dropped from 44.0% in 2019 to 37.2% in 2022. The best performing provinces are Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. An improvement of 20% over 6 years has been registered for Science subjects (74.6%); however, Physical Science targets remain the improvement of participation, performance and quality rates. The implementation of the Technical subjects’ specialisations commenced in 2016 in Grade 10, including the enabler subjects, Technical Mathematics and Technical Sciences, and all technical subjects are preforming well. The Mathematics Catch-up Programme (2023 – 2027) must be used in conjunction with the requirements stipulated in CAPS. In addition, six powerful strategies for deeper classroom learning have been implemented. Our vision is to establish one technical school in every district for all 11 subjects. Currently TVET, community colleges and Universities of Technologies are strengthening the Three Stream Model and subjects which were impacted by COVID-19, are showing a slow, but steady upward trajectory,” Mr Tlhabane concluded.

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