Johannesburg - At least 84 high schools across the country did not offer mathematics last year for Grades 10, 11 and 12, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Wednesday.
This was as a result of a shortage of suitably qualified maths teachers, it said.
"This accounts for 1.3% of all high schools (public and independent) that wrote the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination last year," SAIRR said.
"Such schools will therefore offer only mathematical literacy, as it is a requirement of the NSC for a pupil to take either mathematics or mathematical literacy."
The institute said the figures came from a reply by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to a parliamentary question.
It said maths was a requirement for many courses at tertiary level and pupils who had taken only mathematical literacy were excluded from applying.
Jonathan Snyman, a researcher at SAIRR, said this was a cause for concern.
"The South African economy is becoming an increasingly tertiary-based one, requiring a more skilled workforce," he said.
"Anecdotal evidence points to the fact that most pupils choose their subjects based on what they think they can pass in Grade 12, without realising that many courses at universities will not accept candidates with only maths literacy."