Maths still a challenge

2019-03-06 06:00

South Africa is far from overcoming challenges in dealing with the study of Mathematics, according to the findings of research conducted by Re­flective Learning, a Cape Town-based edtech startup.

The research revealed that in 2018, less than half of South African learners chose to study pure Maths for matric. Research was conducted in schools in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape and the Northern Cape.

Of those who opted for studying Mathematics, only 37% passed with 40% or more. The result is despite much emphasis on the importance of studying Mathematics over the last few years in South African schools.

Eugene Pelteret, managing director of Reflective Learning, said the recent matric results showed that the majority of South Africa’s learners have significant gaps in under­standing, or opt for Mathe­matical literacy as a subject.

“This limits access to higher-level careers in a digital, knowledge economy. In a real-life demonstration of compounding interest, each year that goes by the conceptual gaps grow as learners move up grades. So, gaps in understanding in early school years widen considerably as the learner progresses through high school, to the point that they simply can’t engage with the curriculum anymore,” said Pelteret.

“South Africa needs to tackle the challenge of learning gaps head-on. The thousands of assessments we completed during our pilots showed us that some learners are functioning up to seven grades behind the grade they are in.”

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