The Department of Basic Education, under the leadership of Minister Angie Motshekga is committed to strengthening the quality and participation of Mathematics education in all schools across the country. It is not acceptable for any public ordinary high school not to offer Mathematics to learners. In a democratic South Africa much has been done to transform the education system, we are at a point where almost all schools offer mathematics, and great strides have been made to reintroduce Mathematics in the FET Phase (Grade 10, 11 and 12). The DBE is committed to supporting all schools in this endeavour.
As part of the strategy to increase learner participation and performance in the MST, the DBE developed the Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) Sector Plan pronouncing national and provincial targets. The targets are a deliberate move by the DBE to increase the number of learners taking Mathematics in order to meet the National Development Plan (NDP) targets of increasing the number of learners eligible for bachelors programme with Mathematics and Science to 450 000 by 2030.
Setting of targets revealed that there were schools in the country that had dropped the offering of Mathematics in preference to Mathematical Literacy. The Audit conducted identified 353 of such schools. These schools were not offering Mathematics in Grades 10-12. In verifying these numbers, the analysis of the 2013 DBE EMIS data confirmed that the number was not 353 but 227. The reasons for the differences in numbers were that some of the schools had been merged as part of the rationalisation process.
The Minister issued a directive actioned by the Acting Director General, that all public ordinary schools had to offer at least one Mathematics class from grade 10. Through the various interventions of the DBE the number of schools not offering mathematics has already been drastically reduced, with many of the schools already as early as 2015 reintroducing mathematics. The DBE is working closely with the remaining schools to ensure that they are able to implement the directive come 2016.
A Plan has been developed for monitoring and support Curriculum Coverage (2015-2019):
Schools which are being supported, offering Mathematics in Grade 10 for the first time will receive special support.
- Trained teachers will also be supported on-site and guidance will also be provided in their classrooms, in addition to scheduled, pre-training diagnostic assessment and remedial, group training sessions, including post-training impact assessments of teachers and learners.
- An interim budget has been prepared, but data regarding teacher needs as well as definite numbers of schools affected is still required in order to cluster schools into cost-effective groups so as to deliver effective, on-site teacher support.
- LTSM support
All schools which reintroduced Mathematics in Grade 10 were each supplied with forty Mathematics Grade 10 Siyavula textbooks
- The plan calls for the insertion of academically qualified university graduates in possession of Mathematics II or III, recruited through TEACHSA and supported by that organization in partnership with the Department of Basic Education.
- Specific teacher training has already taken place and will continue to take place in groups up until October.
- Also as part of the Mathematics sector plan we have introduced the 1+4 model of teacher development and training, specifically to mathematics teachers. This means the time tables of schools have been re-organized so that one out of the 5 teaching days in school mathematics teachers in all provinces undergo extensive training.
- The Department has approved the introduction of the revised Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for all technical subjects, including technical Mathematics and Technical Sciences that were promulgated in July 2014 and will be incrementally implemented in January 2016 from Grade 10. Thus giving learners a third mathematics option should they wish to pursue a technical vocational pathway.
We continue our commitment to eradicating the legacy of Bantu education with a focus on improving the quality of Mathematics, Science and Technology education across the sector.
The oppressive Bantu education system denied many black learners the opportunity to study mathematics at a high school level. Thus learners who were capable of being chartered accountants, engineers, actuarial scientists, pharmacists, medical doctors and other professions requiring Mathematics as pre-request, were denied the opportunity to full-fill their dreams. This included mathematics teachers.
The sector plan is not without its challenges; however we are already seeing major improvements in the uptake and quality of mathematics education throughout the country. We are confident that these gains will, in the three years leading up to 2019, become visible in the ANA and NSC assessments.