Dept’s maths plan

2015-02-24 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The Basic Education ­Department now plans to monitor maths teachers for the next two years.

And if the department does not like what it sees, there will be consequences. This is the ­outline of the detailed, four-year plan to ­improve maths teaching in schools, which the department is tabling to the parliamentary portfolio committee on basic education today.

The plan, which covers 2015 to 2019, will from 2016 include a comprehensive audit of mathematics teachers and subject advisors.

The report states teachers who are not ­properly trained to teach mathematics will be redeployed to other subjects and holders of ­Funza Lushaka bursary will be employed in their place. The Funza Lushaka Bursary Programme promotes teaching in public schools.

Full-cost bursaries are available to enable ­eligible students to complete a full teaching qualification in an area of national priority. ­Recipients of these bursaries are required to teach at a public school for the same number of years that they receive the bursary.

The department had among others asked the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) to identify problems in maths teaching in South Africa.

The report states only 11% of Grade 9 pupil passed last year’s maths exam in the annual ­national assessment (ANA) exams, adding it is no longer accurate to say teachers are struggling with some parts of the maths curriculum.

According to the report, it is clear that ­teachers are struggling with the whole curriculum and a robust and unconventional approach is needed to fix this situation.

The department expects Grade 8 and 9 maths teachers to pass the assessments tests they will get later this year with at least 80%.

From 2016, the improvement plan also ­precludes any teacher from being promoted to subject advisor or departmental head over maths unless they are qualified maths teachers. Other long-term proposals for 2018 and 2024 include reducing the nine subjects currently taught in Grade 7 to 9 and increasing the hours for maths teaching.

Executive director for the SA Mathematics Foundation Professor Johann Engelbrecht ­welcomed the audit, but said he expects the ­unions will resist all plans to test teachers.

President of the teacher union Naptosa Basil Manuel said the unions are not aware of the plan. He said there was and still is a historical shortage of maths teachers in SA, and the ­department cannot move these teachers without offering any support or training.

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