More than 300 schools in South Africa drop maths

Schools chasing pass rates, pupils preferring ‘easier’ maths literacy and scarcity of good teachers among reasons

There are more than 300 schools in South Africa that no longer offer mathematics as a subject.

An association for Afrikaans mathematics teachers, Vereniging vir Afrikaanse Wiskunde-onderwysers (VAW), claims that it has obtained a list from the department of basic education itself that reveals this startling fact.

VAW is an initiative of trade union Solidarity.

Most of these schools are quintile 1 to 3 schools, in other words, schools in poorer areas where people cannot afford to pay school fees, said Johan Koekemoer, the head of the VAW. . Michael le Cordeur

Michael le Cordeur, head of the department of curriculum studies in the education faculty at Stellenbosch University, said that his own research had also revealed that some schools no longer offered mathematics.

This trend appears to be attributable to the fact that increasing numbers of pupils are choosing to take maths literacy rather than “pure” mathematics.

“Children choose the easier option, namely maths literacy, when they make choices about subjects in Grade 10.”

Last year there were 14 178 fewer pupils who took pure mathematics in matric, while the number taking maths literacy increasing by 6 362, compared to 2018.

The department of basic education did not respond to a request for comment sent by City Press’ sister publication, Rapport.

Le Cordeur said a national mind shift was needed when it came to mathematics. Children were taught from a young age that “maths is hard” and that’s why they avoided it.

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