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How to solve SA maths crisis? Not by failing pupils, says education expert

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Outrage about a proposal to allow students to progress to the next grade with only 20% in maths is hiding a bigger problem in schools: there is a crisis in mathematics teaching and learning across all years.

That’s according to education expert Elizabeth Walton, who explains why making pupils repeat a year tends to cause more harm than good. The maths pass rate controversy highlights the woeful failure by past governments to address education standards.

Education is a long game, with the benefits only seen as future generations emerge ready  – or unprepared – to contribute to the economy. Revelations that most South Africans have little to no ability in maths is worrying for reducing poverty levels and knocking high unemployment rates on the head. Without basic knowledge in maths, it is very hard for individuals to find employment in the formal sector.

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