Mzansi Afrika

From Johannesburg South Africa, a window on the world

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Miserable Maths

Sapa reports that the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, in a new report, has found that standards of matric maths in South Africa are nothing less than scary. Well, okay, they didn't quite phrase it that way, nevertheless, the report says that South African maths is poor even by African levels which are generally lower than the rest of the world. According to Professor Servaas van der Berg, author of the report:
"Since the 1980s, the total number of university-grade mathematics matriculations at higher grade has been dropping," said Van der Berg in the 2004 edition of the Transformation Audit, an annual publication of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. Van der Berg said there has been no improvement in matric pass rates between 1994 and 1999/2000, despite deracialisation and large resource shifts."

However all is not lost, "national pass rates have improved quite strongly in the last few years, partly due to education authorities reducing the number of over-age and less-prepared pupils writing exams."

Although that does seem to pale into significance when you consider that "Van der Berg said international comparisons showed an "extremely weak" performance by South African pupils, even against much poorer countries with far fewer resources than even those available to African schools under apartheid. "Nowhere is this performance as bad as in numeracy and mathematics where South African test scores are near the worst in the world," he said."


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