SA has worst maths, science education in world

2014-06-02 16:02

Johannesburg - The quality of South Africa's maths and science education places it last out of 148 countries, according to a World Economic Forum report.

Under the "skills" sub-category, the quality of South Africa's maths and science education comes in last place, behind the likes of Haiti, Lesotho, Chad, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, and Kenya.

The quality of South Africa's education puts it in 146th place.

This is according to the "Global Information Technology Report 2014". It uses a networked readiness index (NRI) to rank the state of countries' information and communication technology.

South Africa is placed 70th on the NRI, which is made up of 10 different sub-categories from which the overall NRI ranking is drawn.

Democratic Alliance education spokesperson Annette Lovemore said in a statement she would seek to have Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga brought before Parliament.

This was so the minister could account for what appeared to be the worsening state of South Africa's education system.

She said the ministerial task team established to investigate teaching in maths, science and technology last year released a "damning report" about South Africa's education.

"[The ministerial report] exposed gaping holes at every level of our education system," said Lovemore.

It noted that the national strategy was out of date, there was a shortage of qualified teachers, and curriculum changes over the last 10 years had negatively affected teaching.

Universities were not training teachers adequately, and district officers were largely unable to provide adequate support to teachers.

"Furthermore, a reply to a subsequent DA parliamentary question revealed that the department of basic education does not know the full extent of the shortages of mathematics, science and technology teachers," she said.

"The reality is that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has not done enough to address the maths, science and technology crisis."

The WEF's ranking did not reflect the ability of South Africa’s school pupils, but an education system that needed urgent intervention.

The education curriculum and methodology had to be aligned to achieve similar successes in South Africa as had been seen in the Western Cape, said Lovemore.

Here, the 2013 matrics achieved a 73.3% pass rate in maths and 73.7% in science.

"Quality education is a crucial necessity for creating more globally competitive young adults, much-needed jobs and entrepreneurs," she said.

  • Freddie Miller - 2014-06-02 16:06

    No surprises there. Just look at who is in charge.

      Freddie Miller - 2014-06-02 16:07

      But we have the best pass rate!

      Roelof J. Kannenberg - 2014-06-02 16:18

      One hundred and four hundred and six hundredth place. We have the best pass rate, because we have the lowest pass standard.

      Meghan King - 2014-06-02 16:19

      It is easy to pass when the pass rate is 30% - please!! Our education system is a complete JOKE. Embarrassing to say the very least. I worked in higher education for a while and the quality of people coming out of schools and being accepted into University is a shame. I wouldn't even give them a grade 9, let alone a Matric

      Freddie Miller - 2014-06-02 16:20

      Roelof... Exactly!!

      George Wood - 2014-06-02 16:22


      Freddie Miller - 2014-06-02 16:30

      Meghan, in case you missed it, my second comment was dripping with sarcasm.

      jungleboy - 2014-06-02 16:51

      Yes Freddie, if you do the maths, you will notice we have an exponential increase in the pass rate and a decrease in the crime rate. This, in simple terms means that we now have more people passing matric than are in school and the crime rate is now negative even Einstein would have difficulty coming up with a mathematical formula to explain the decrease. dark matter indeed.

      Burton Weakley - 2014-06-02 17:51

      @ jungleboy. Do not speak about Einstein. If you can explain his E=MC2 in detail then yes I will listen to you. The pass rate is 33%. In technical terms only a complete idiot or clown would fail a matric. Essentially what this means is that you don't need to attend one day of school, just write the exam and get 33%. You say the crime rate is down? I live in a area and was apart of a block watch where the people breaking into houses during the day were school boys. Ok granted it was a joke when we nabbed a 25 year old who I am not joking was still in st 6, so your comment is not valid. If you had to offer any normal thinking person the RSA school system or to be stranded on an island, no trees, no water, no food, alone they would take the island. BTW I have seen the new matric curriculum, when I was in st 8 I would have passed it. Face it, the cANCer has destroyed RSA. Only a matter of time before the rest goes, look at all the problems we have 3 weeks after an election. But No. 1 is sitting back having a shower looking at Nkandla and trying to count his chickens, I believe he actually got to two yesterday, they are just struggling to get him to understand how many 3 is

      Mark Chapman - 2014-06-02 18:21

      Is this part of "The Good Story"?

      Bheki Dladla - 2014-06-03 07:50

      I still believe that 1 + 1 = 3 This is a serious problem, jokes aside. I am so disappointed

      Jacques Otto - 2014-06-03 10:06

      It is logical. South Africa has the most under qualified goverment in the world. LAst year we had such a success in the Matric pass rate but yet we see the worst ranking in Math and science in the world. Who is pulling the wool over our eyes. Angie where did you buy your masters from. Please send the number to the rest of the country so we can please let the rest buy them as well. Perhaps we can inflate our position from 146 to at least 140. This is the way we do things in SA is it not

      Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2014-06-03 11:00

      Jasper Sterling. Koos, Anthony or what ever, is a tiresome white person who needs trolling to support his search for an identity. If everyone will ignore him, no thumbs what so ever, he will fade away. Holland won't give him a second passport, maybe we should ask what he wants it for.

  • Patrick Winter - 2014-06-02 16:09

    Another accolade, good job JZ, good job.

      Omgeklits DeMaaifudí - 2014-06-02 17:30

      Work it out - South Africa ranks 58th in the world on per capita spending per student out of 194 states. That must surely make the current educational authorities the most inefficient in te world. Oh well - that's probably why we the poephols voted for them.

  • Jeremy Morton - 2014-06-02 16:09

    Wonder y...with a st2 uneducated dumb ass president,u dnt need qualifications in africa...

      Klaus Muller - 2014-06-02 17:54

      Jesus, your point being?? Mugabes honours are compliments of a superior Rhodesian Prison Education.

      Theunis De Jongh - 2014-06-03 13:15

      We are talking education - meaning knowledge practically applied - not a bunch of papers on the wall. Mugabe destroyed a country. The papers mean nothing.

  • Siyabonga Ntshangase - 2014-06-02 16:09

    Its Statistics, Maths and Science is not everything!!!

      Shaun Neveling - 2014-06-02 16:15

      Actually it is. Ex one child = 1 grant, 2 kids = uhhhh???

      John Taylor - 2014-06-02 16:24

      The report says we came 146 out of 148 for overall education. Not much better.

      jungleboy - 2014-06-02 16:52


      Mark Chapman - 2014-06-02 18:16

      You are correct "Maths and Science is not everything!!!" Maths and Science ARE everything!!!

  • Stefan Roets - 2014-06-02 16:09

    Looks like our kids are better off doing meth than math.

      Blinde Sambok - 2014-06-02 16:41


      Priscilla Smith - 2014-06-02 17:04

      Ha ha ha ha ha. Brilliant!!!

      Mc Apple - 2014-06-02 18:28

      It would be funny, if it wasn't the truth.

      Justin Pretorius - 2014-06-03 21:11

      Lol, they won't be able to calculate if they got a good deal on their stash without basic math ;

  • Carolyn Nosipho Mncube - 2014-06-02 16:12

    i thought it was just one those tabloid ,,Maths and Science the worst someone doing something

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2014-06-02 16:35

      This is really serious, 146 out of 148! Did somebody really vote anc for this? Boycott the anc Time to vote DA

      Chris May - 2014-06-02 17:46

      It's serious, Carolyn. Maths and science are 'principle', so with maths and science a child can grasp almost anything including a fruitful future. Perhaps it is a two-headed monster: not enough kids are interested, and the quality of education is also .. not interested. It's a kick in the face for a beautiful country, really.

  • John Tribelhorn - 2014-06-02 16:12

    this is not surprising and I am sure it is much worse than stated.

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2014-06-02 16:37

      Yes, they did not mentions all the other subjects, English, Geography etc. the anc is piss-poor! It is a crime against humanity, not educating the children. Take the anc to court.

      Mc Apple - 2014-06-02 18:30

      And now you know why indigenous languages are becoming part of the curriculum. Let us hope the Zulu boys don't flunk Zulu. That would be toooooo embarrassing.

  • DezLee - 2014-06-02 16:13

    But now...a few months ago the DA said that Education was under National government when it came to school safety. How now brown cow?

      Paulus - 2014-06-02 16:18

      What's your point.. or do you think the third last paragraph indicates that the WC has it's own rules?

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2014-06-02 16:38

      @Paulus - It should have it's own rules, then it would really show the anc how to do it!

      DezLee - 2014-06-02 16:44

      Either Lovemore claims that the Education Dept is running things differently in WC or that WC scholars are more clever or that DA good governance influences school grades. Which is it?

      Paulus - 2014-06-02 16:56

      He seems to suggest that the WC manages to align methodology and the curriculum to ensure success. In other words, your last option.

      Buzzbar - 2014-06-02 17:39

      Dezlee, why don't you put two and two together.... No wait....

      DezLee - 2014-06-02 19:07

      tu + tu = tutu?

  • Mike 881 - 2014-06-02 16:13

    This is the aim of the government(zuma), to dumb down the population. An educated populace would never put up with the current behaviour (corruption, cronyism, mismanagement) of government!

      Michael Meiring - 2014-06-02 16:29

      ... Jacob Zuma says only 'very clever and bright people' care about the security upgrades at his Nkandla home and that ordinary South Africans are not concerned with the issue. From the horses mouth

  • Donovan Rix - 2014-06-02 16:14

    1 + 1 =zuma

      Mc Apple - 2014-06-02 18:31

      No No 1 + 1 = 250 000 000 and counting

      Ted Bug - 2014-06-02 18:56

      1 fat wife + 1 fat wife + 1 fat wife + unknown number of children = no one cares as long as we can build Nkandlas.

      Mc Apple - 2014-06-02 19:04

      Better build that fire fighting pool a little bigger. To many people who needs to trip around it.

  • Fred Kolbe - 2014-06-02 16:16

    Yae yae I know the answer!1 Because of Apartheid, must be, is there any other reason?

      Erna Westdyk - 2014-06-02 16:23

      During apartheid we had one of the best education systems, but instead of just continuing with a good curriculum we had to change! And how many times have we changed since then? Now all the grades are doing CAPS - but apparently not too successful either.

  • Rob Graf - 2014-06-02 16:18

    Put that computer down...stop using that cell phone...After all maths and science made them...seriously bro maths and science are so important...suppose all you need to do is count 19 cows and you sorted

  • Mthokozisi BabakaZamancwango Phakathi - 2014-06-02 16:19

    These are the results of changing syllabus unnecessary just to improve the pass mark. The introduction if Maths literacy which doesn’t make sense to me is the biggest impact in this regard, but it was just laziness thinking.

      Bingo - 2014-06-02 16:44

      In fairness, did Maths lit not simply replace lower grade maths?

      Paulus - 2014-06-02 16:58

      Not as far as I know.. it seems to be a more practical application of maths, not a easier cop-out. Although it is easier as well. How to balance your back account in place of how to calculate the volume of a sphere etc. I stand under correction though.

      Vusi Lord V Mahlangu - 2014-06-02 18:11

      I sometimes wonder where this idiots get their ideas from, I mean you give a student a 30% pass percentage and expect him/her to be an asset for the country? that's just bull

      Mthokozisi BabakaZamancwango Phakathi - 2014-06-03 09:41

      @ Bingo where i was studying there was only HG and SG, I’m not sure of the LG you are talking about, maybe you can assist on that since you have LG background

  • Erna Westdyk - 2014-06-02 16:19

    But we're so proud of our matric results! The ANC government should hang their heads in shame - this is due to their maladministration. At least during the previous regime we had one of the best education systems. Why don't you change the curriculum, again, Angie?

  • Wehr Wulf - 2014-06-02 16:19

    62% say SA has a good story to tell. This might explain why they think like they do.

  • Neil Moorgas - 2014-06-02 16:20


  • Naphtali Ejumu - 2014-06-02 16:20

    Ladies and gentlemen a round of applause to Zuma and his anc on their achievement. Lets also not forget the idiots who helped him get there. But we all know he isn't doesn't there. Service delivery infrastructure and unemployment still need to be messed up. But thanks to south Africa he can screw that up in his second term.

  • joe.masilela1 - 2014-06-02 16:20

    Its suppose to when its monday they just wish if its friday. Parents needs to be little bit harsh when it comes to their children's lessons.

      Chris May - 2014-06-02 17:51

      A lot of kids made up their own minds though, and succeeded despite all - that's encouraging. But some parents don't see too much of their kids, so there just has to be another support structure. Right where the kids live. Supporting and encouraging them.

      Vusi Lord V Mahlangu - 2014-06-02 18:12

      But as a student how do you take your studies seriously knowing very well that you only need 30% to pass?

  • Armando Guerra - 2014-06-02 16:21

    disappointing but not suprising. you haven't seen anything yet, it is only going to get better.

      BJ Pieman - 2014-06-03 09:36

      It's been at the same level for decades. I moved to SA in the 80s from Europe, maths was about 3 yeas behind what I was used to.

  • Fannie Mashilo - 2014-06-02 16:21

    What about Nigeria?

      Donovan Rix - 2014-06-02 16:34

      No there school kids just go missing!!!

      Priscilla Smith - 2014-06-02 16:59

      What about Nigeria?? Where do all the cell phone scams come from? And who do they scam the most? Country with 30% pass!!

      Buzzbar - 2014-06-02 17:40

      The Nigerians may be skelm, but at least they can do the maths to support their crime and scams....

      Citizen - 2014-06-03 09:00

      @Donovan Rix I don't think that is something you should be making fun of, coz that is a very sad situation.

  • Seek Anfind - 2014-06-02 16:21

    ignorant people vote for useless leaders who provide useless education resulting in ignorant people. .. and so the cycle continues..

  • Jeff Jones - 2014-06-02 16:21

    Bring back the Higher and standard grade system. That way, those who want world class education can have it while those who can't smoke the pipe can still get a standard grade matric and go to a college or technicon.

      Erna Westdyk - 2014-06-02 16:28

      The majority of teachers aren't qualified to teach higher grade.

      Jenny Webbe - 2014-06-02 18:20

      There are alot of teachers who are qualified but not teaching because they aren't from the right race demographic. If we want this country to work, the govt need to stop sidelining qualified people simply because they're they of the paler hue... this applies to all sectors, institutions and businesses. We have lost thousands of worthwhile educators, medical people, accountants, business people, scientists and academics because of racist policies meant to exclude minorities. The result was a foregone conclusion and unless stopped soon, will bring more disaster. Education and training and transfer of skills cannot happen without dedicated people who want to help but are not allowed to!

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2014-06-02 16:23

    Just a tip of an iceberg.

  • Shaun Cousins - 2014-06-02 16:24

    are we talking all science here, if thats the case must be excelling at criminal science.

  • criticallyhonest - 2014-06-02 16:24

    How can they say that my Maths is so bad, I was top of my class and only clever people will have a problem with this..... ....and that is the way it goes!

  • Meghan King - 2014-06-02 16:24

    I honestly cannot believe the state of our education system. How are we supposed to improve / grow the economy / prosper in the future if this is the level we produce. I mean seriously! Standards people, standards! Dropping a pass rate so that the Matric pass rate looks good on paper is not only damaging for the student, but most especially for the country. Stop stroking your own egos and sort this nonsense out!

  • - 2014-06-02 16:26

    What do you expect when the subjects are dumbed down in order to increase the lass rate? Well played, ANC.

  • Eternity - 2014-06-02 16:26

    This is terrible Dropping the pass mark doesn't work if you are comparing us with the rest of the world. Such idiots in the education department. We are going to have a BIG problem on our hands as the current generation move up to fill the job sphere. George Orwells Animal Farm really comes to mind when thinking of how the countries elite-politically-connected class are keeping the working uneducated masses in their place

  • ??? - 2014-06-02 16:27

    Everyone knows how to calculate 1+2+3+4.....+96+97+98+99+100= ? in 5 minutes in grade 6 in China. Math enhances you logical ability

  • BANDIT - 2014-06-02 16:27

    This shouldn't be a shock, with the ANC in power & dropping standards to basically zero things can only go down, typical their arrogant mentality! Another good story too tell, don't worry they will blame apartheid for their incompetence!!!

  • Anthony Hawke - 2014-06-02 16:29

    Go for it ANC!

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2014-06-02 16:56

      Yes! Go to Hell!

  • Reiner Bunger - 2014-06-02 16:29


  • DerekMain - 2014-06-02 16:30

    Thanks for that all you cANCer voters. Phansi cANCer, phansi!!!

  • Neil Moorgas - 2014-06-02 16:30

    Amazing discovery after 20 years of democracy - it doesnt matter we're a nation that cannot read and write.

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2014-06-02 16:57

      Cos' we in Afrika!

  • Pieter Hugo - 2014-06-02 16:32

    So this is the ANC success story Jacob told us about? But, to quote the wise man himself, only clever people will worry about it.

  • Prince Ramalia - 2014-06-02 16:32

    As long as they keep lowering pass marks in order to boost about pass rate this will continue to happen. As long JZ and Angie are still there this won't change and sad part is that it affects mostly rural areas students from poor background

      Chris May - 2014-06-02 17:56

      The special social workers should be sent there, light a fire of knowledge and enthusiasm, a joy for learning all sorts of things

  • Neil Moorgas - 2014-06-02 16:33

    You dont get it do you its not the parents duty to provide a proper education it is government and the education department to provide learnets with the correct tools in education so that they are equipped better.

      Chris May - 2014-06-02 17:57

      It's a two way street, even a three way street

      Neil Russell - 2014-06-02 18:38

      Spoken like a true socialist.

      jacques.potgieter.313 - 2014-06-02 22:01

      How can a teacher educate a child for 8 hours a day be blamed if the parents don't care for or monitor that child for the other say 8 (minus 8 for sleep)

      Trevor Neal Gothan - 2014-06-03 15:22

      I agree with Chris here - education is a three way street. Great education requires commitment and effort from parents, teachers and the learner. Minus one of those, then education results slip to second rate, minus two, it starts being third rate. Without any contribution, the education quality and results will disappear and schooling becomes a total waste of everybody's time and taxpayers money. It is then just a glorified creche to give the kids each a free meal a day and get them out of their parent's hair.

  • Liyema Mbatiwe - 2014-06-02 16:33

    This is so stressing!!

      Positive Citizen - 2014-06-02 16:51


      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2014-06-02 17:03

      No, it does not stress Zuma.

  • sean.wasserman.3 - 2014-06-02 16:33

    With a 30% pass mark and maths literacy as a matric subject, this is not unexpected. Mediocrity is celebrated in South Africa.

      Priscilla Smith - 2014-06-02 16:45

      Celebrated in a big way. And these people that do pass all look so mighty pleased with their 30% pass and expect to just walk into a high paying job.

      Justin Rens - 2014-06-02 17:22

      not only celebrated but rewarded

  • Neil Moorgas - 2014-06-02 16:34


  • Mluleki Simelane - 2014-06-02 16:36

    I fee like crying

      Desiree Rowe - 2014-06-03 19:07

      I am crying I have two in school and it's not fun either.

  • Neil Moorgas - 2014-06-02 16:37

    So in the next election take ur unemployed children living at home with you and vote for the correct party this time - why are you complaining you decided the future of your children when you voted. Incompetence isnt tolerated in the private sector if you want results.

      Priscilla Smith - 2014-06-02 16:41

      Well said.

      Citizen - 2014-06-03 09:09

      which one is the correct party?

  • Priscilla Smith - 2014-06-02 16:37

    And we should be surprsised by this story....Why? In our country if you can write and spell your name correctly you get your 30 percent pass!

  • Michael Meiring - 2014-06-02 16:37

    You Mr Zuma and all your cronies might as well just go and throw sh#t all over Hector Pietersons memorial. That boy died for nothing. I did not agree with the Apartheid system, it was wrong, but the kids would have got a better education in those days, even if it was in Afrikaans, than what they are getting now.

  • Azwi Sadiki - 2014-06-02 16:38

    And we still go and vote for the ANC, all who voted for the sorry excuse for a president are to be blamed. How does a country like ours with so much resources have the worst education as far as quality is concerned. The fool cant even count, 939 million three thousand and sixty thousand, this ant funny anymore, we need to think of the future of the country and overlook our colour difference and stand together to build a better tomorrow.

      Positive Citizen - 2014-06-02 16:54

      absolutely agreed - music to my ears m8.

      Craig Van Stade - 2014-06-03 05:29

      Azwi for president!

      Citizen - 2014-06-03 09:10

      @ Azwi, which political party do you think will help solve the issue?

  • Rodgers Mabasa - 2014-06-02 16:39

    But Helen Zille still think Angie's appointment as Education Minister is the good one

      Chris May - 2014-06-02 18:01

      stability as opposed to other choices

      JMaree - 2014-06-02 21:54

      She said: it was good to have continuity... In other words, that someone else doesn't have to learn the job first before they can get to work... Try reading more...

  • olivia.poluta - 2014-06-02 16:39

    Our president has no education and he thinks that was good enough for me so it must be good enough for the children of SA.

  • Andrew Worrall - 2014-06-02 16:39

    Now that's a good story to tell. Mshiliwam!!!

  • nick.patsalos - 2014-06-02 16:40

    Solve: Y+2=Y

      Chris May - 2014-06-02 18:03


      Mc Apple - 2014-06-02 18:36

      Hahahahaha brilliant!

      Junior Mahlo - 2014-06-03 16:40

      Y-Y+2=0; 0=2

  • Mirko Zan - 2014-06-02 16:40

    A nation of circus acts!Viva ANC viva!