Maths in lower grades neglected - report

2013-09-11 22:23
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The basic education department was paying too much attention to Grade 12 maths and neglecting other grades, according to a report released by the SA Mathematics Foundation (SAMF) on Wednesday.

The report was researched and written by Dr Nico Govender, a member of SAMF's Advisory Committee for Mathematics (ACM).

"Dr Govender is of the opinion that the department of basic education and other stakeholders have been paying too much attention to Grade 12 Mathematics, thus neglecting the teaching and learning of the subject in early grades.

"He believes that support for Mathematics in the early grades will have a positive impact on learner performance in later grades and thus improve Matric pass rates," SAMF said in a statement.

The report was focused on the poor state of teaching and learning of maths in the senior phase, grade seven to nine.

One of the key factors in the performance of pupils was the qualifications of teachers, Govender said.

"There should be efforts to improve the qualifications of mathematics teacher," Govender said.

"The study has shown that a STD qualification is no longer sufficient for mathematics teachers in the senior phase. The DBE should ensure that these teachers are upgraded to a more appropriate qualification."

Govender's independent research focused on 17 advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

He said teachers from former model C schools attended teacher workshops, and had support programmes funded by schools and other schools were not given the necessary support from the department.

Maths training

Meanwhile, a different report written by Professor Werner Olivier, an ACM member, focused on the effectiveness of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) training aimed at the maths curriculum.

The report highlighted the negative experiences of in-service mathematics teachers who had been exposed to CAPS training, the SAMF said.

CAPS training was introduced in June 2011 to make the curriculum more accessible to teachers and to provide them with details on what content to teach and access.

Thousands of subject advisers were trained during 2011 by the department.

According to the report, many subject advisers who presented CAPS training at district level were not knowledgeable or competent enough to do justice to the intended training.

Basic Education spokesperson Panyaza Lesufi said the reports had nothing new in them.

"We actually diagnosed these problems five years ago and acted on them by introducing ANA [Annual National Assessments], Dinaledi Schools, recruitment of maths and science teachers from universities and many more interventions," he told Sapa.

"Actually their so called findings are nothing new than glorifying problems and defending the privileges of the few and praising former model C schools under the disguise of research."

Lesufi said the department had more than 24 000 public schools in South Africa and for anyone to pass a "sweeping and reckless judgment" was unfortunate.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  education

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