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Basic Education Department warns the public against false news reports regarding change in pass requirements for mathematics, 29 December 2019

The Department of Basic Education has noted with enormous disappointment, social media posts suggesting that the minimum pass requirements for mathematics have been “lowered to 20%” in the Senior Phase – Grades 7 to 9.

The articles, with the false reports, have appeared in various news platforms.  In a BusinessTech article dated 7 December 2016, the headline says “SA government lowers pass mark for maths to 20%”; and in Cape Talk article also of the same date says “Maths pass mark to be lowered to 20% for Grade 7 to 9”.  Both articles got it wrong back in 2016 when the issue first came up, and they are still wrong today.

The Department clarified the misunderstanding back then, after some media platforms incorrectly reported on the issue.  It seems the matter has since resurfaced, and it is being shared on social media as though it new information.

Here are the facts:

  1. There is no change to the minimum pass requirements for mathematics in Grade 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
  2. The Minister had, in 2016, made a special concession as part of a transitional arrangement following the implementation of the new CAPS in the senior phase schools.  Simply put, the concession only applied to Grades 7-9 learners, who had passed all the requisite subjects, except for mathematics, to be promoted to the next grade.  When promoted, these learners would be allowed to opt for mathematical literacy, rather than continuing with pure mathematics.
  3. In terms of the National Education Policy Act, any policy change, would be made by the Minister after consultation with the Council of Education Ministers (CEM), and using appropriate channels, such as a government gazette, or a circular – both which, would be communicated officially by the Department.

Some people have seemingly fallen victim to this fake news, accusing the Department of having reduced the “pass mark for Mathematics to 20%”.  This could not be further from the truth.  It is mischievous of some people to take old information and make it look like it is a new policy directive.  We condemn the misleading headline, and the peddling of false information.

Furthermore, the Department urges members of the public to be cautious about information received from third parties regarding departmental matters, and to rather encourage the members of the public to seek official comment from the Department.

The public is urged to take the following steps to avoid falling victim to fake news:

  1. Read what you received attentively (Don’t believe things at face value);
  2. Check the source of the material (news articles, WhatsApp messages are not reliable sources);
  3. Verify via the DBE website (it is always updated);
  4. Contact the Department (DBE social media platforms are accessible) to verify information at hand and seek clarity;
  5. Request correct information from the Department; and
  6. Share correct information.

South Africans are urged to refrain from sharing incorrect and misleading content that causes confusion and panic especially among parents and learners alike.


Media Enquiries:    Elijah Mhlanga - 083 580 8275




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Written By: buhlebendalo somgede
Date Posted: 4/6/2020
Number of Views: 1884

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