Govt defends new Maths

2008-08-11 00:00

The national Education Department has defended its new mathematics curriculum in the face of a petition calling for it to be scrapped.

Teachers have voiced concern about the decision to scrap standard grade exams this year.

Minister Naledi Pandor addressed these fears, saying proper measures have been put in place to ensure that teachers and the 600 000 grade 12 pupils are well prepared for the new curriculum.

Penny Vinjevold, the deputy director-general of further education and training, concurred with Pandor, saying that while there might be opposition from some quarters, there are many teachers who support the new curriculum. She said the department is helping teachers to better understand and cope with it.

“The department has many initiatives in place, including a generous bursary scheme for maths and science teachers. There are many teachers, learners, universities and government officials working hard to make the success of the curriculum a reality. The Education Department and provincial departments continue to work to ensure that the required resources are available.”

Vinjevold told The Witness the current curriculum was accepted as the best route to go.

“A high-level team investigated and advised that the current model be adopted. In February 2008, the mathematics teachers who wrote to you and other members of the press met with the department and we explained that all their concerns would be addressed in the assessment of mathematics, but that we could not go back to standard grade maths,” she said.

The teachers who are opposed to the new mathematics curriculum claim that mathematical literacy, which is taken by pupils not able to do maths, is a watered-down version of the subject.

They also claim that there are not enough trained teachers to teach maths and maths literacy, which are compulsory in all schools and all grades.

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