1 in 6 matrics failed maths

2012-01-29 13:10

Johannesburg - One in six pupils who wrote last year's matric maths paper got less than 10%, City Press reported on Sunday.

More than half the matrics who wrote physical science got less than 30% for the subject, according to figures the paper obtained from education quality assurance body Umalusi.

The average mark for the maths paper was 29%, 32% for physical science and 38% for life sciences.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced on January 4 that 70.2% of matrics at public schools passed last year's exams, up from 67.8% in 2010.

Figures showed only nine percent of those who wrote maths and 10 percent of those who wrote physical science had, according to the department's criteria, an adequate understanding of these subjects, the newspaper reported.


The figures were "frightening", education expert Professor Graeme Bloch told the City Press.

"We are perhaps improving slowly, but not fast enough for a competitive world."

The numbers also showed fewer pupils were taking critical subjects like maths, physical science and accounting.

The pass mark should be set at the globally accepted standard of 50%, CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of SA Schools, Paul Colditz said.

"We are misleading ourselves and the learners. A 50% [pass] would, however, reduce the number of successful candidates dramatically, and embarrass the political and educational leaders."

Matrics however did well in languages, and across the 11 official languages, average marks of well above 50% were achieved.

Wits University education Professor Mary Metcalfe told the newspaper: "These maths results are deeply worrying for our progress in scarce skills areas. Many teachers need more support with both mathematics and the specific challenges of teaching concepts," she told the City Press.

The Umalusi data showed far fewer pupils enrolled for English and Afrikaans as a home language than in previous years.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!


I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.