The Department of Basic Education revealed this week that one in four South African schools don’t offer maths in Grades 10, 11 and 12.
The figure was contained in a written reply to the DA’s spokesperson for basic education, Annette Lovemore from Port Elizabeth.
Here is a list of the most important factoids from the department’s response:
1. 75.7% of schools in South Africa offer maths in Grades 10, 11 and 12. That’s 4 484 of the 5 927 schools in the country.
2. In the Bohlabela district in Mpumalanga, only 10 of the 128 schools there offer maths. That works out to just 7.8% of the schools.
3. The province with the highest number of schools offering the subject is the Western Cape, at 91.1%.
4. Percentages for the other seven provinces are: Eastern Cape at 63.4%; Northern Cape at 69.8%; KwaZulu-Natal with 72.8%; the Free State with 80.3%; the North West at 84.9%; Limpopo with 85.8% and Gauteng with 89.5%.
5. Just two districts in the entire country have every one of their schools offering maths – Greater Delareyville in the North West with 18 schools, and the Metro East in the Western Cape with 43.
6. In Gauteng, the province of the country’s economic capital, Johannesburg, the district with the worst showing is Johannesburg West with 20 of the 31 schools offering maths. That’s 64%.
7. The department cites “non-availability of qualified, competent teachers” of FET Phase Mathematics as a reason why some schools don’t have the subject.
8. The department has a two-tier plan to introduce maths in the schools that weren’t offering it. The first part sees the department “addressing the content knowledge deficits identified in educators present in the affected schools”.
Thirty-three teachers had already been for training in March over a five-day period. Four such training sessions are scheduled for 2015, covering Grade 10 mathematics work.
9. The second part of the ministry’s plan involves a partnership with TEACHSA, an NGO that identifies and places graduates in the necessary fields.
“These graduates are encouraged to enrol for a professional teaching qualification, while they work in the schools. 60% of TEACHSA Ambassadors (as they are called) have chosen to remain in the teaching profession following their placement.”
The placement of the TEACHSA Ambassadors is scheduled to take place in January 2016.
10. Every one of the top skills listed in the 100 scarce skills list requires learners to have done mathematics, states the DA’s Annette Lovemore. These scarce skills include engineers, scientists, accountants, and yes, maths teachers.
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