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Mathematics and Technical Mathematics in public schools

With the NSC Examinations continuing nationally, this week saw more than 391,339 candidates sitting for the Mathematics Paper 1 whilst 13,729 candidates sat for the Technical Mathematics Paper 1.

Chief Education Specialist for Mathematics, Science and Technology, Mr Leonard Mudau, said that the Class of 2020 is expected to perform well because education officials at national and provincial level implemented various intervention strategies towards improving learning outcomes. “As part of the Matric Catch-Up Programme, the DBE has developed learning materials for Technical Mathematics, which were shared with learners across all nine provinces. The DBE, together with Provincial Education Departments (PEDs) further conducted teacher workshops in both Mathematics and Technical Mathematics in response to challenging topics emanating from the diagnostic report," highlighted Mr Mudau.

In addition, Mr Mudau added that, “it is pivotal to indicate that Mathematics and Technical Mathematics are equally important; however, Technical Mathematics focuses on supporting Technical Subjects whereas Mathematics is designed to serve a variety of fields including academic professions. Learners intending to become Medical Doctors, Chartered Accounts, and Actuarial Scientists would offer Mathematics, whereas learners who have an ambition to qualify as artisans would opt for Technical Mathematics. In Mathematics, learners prove theorems. On the other hand, learners offering Technical Mathematics are required to apply theorems in the subject. Mathematics weighs more than Technical Mathematics in terms of scores, for example, Universities prefer Mathematics to Technical Mathematics whereas Universities of Technologies consider both Mathematics and Technical Mathematics”. 

“The number of learners who offer Mathematics and Technical Mathematics is slowly increasing. This might be due to a high volume of learners offering Mathematical Literacy. During the 2020 NSC Examinations, more than 523,574 learners wrote Mathematical Literacy. This remains a serious concern. Going forward, the DBE and PEDs should focus on increasing learner participation in Mathematics and Technical Mathematics,” he concluded.

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