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Maths is still compulsory, education department insists

The Department of Basic Education has reiterated that it will not be removing Maths for Grades 7 to 9, after several news reports indicated that it would.

“The department has noted with disappointment the misleading media reports regarding the minimum promotion requirements in the schooling system… we are not removing maths at all,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.

The department clarified that pupils who passed all other subjects, but failed mathematics with a minimum mark of 20%, would be “condoned” and “would thus pass mathematics and pass the examination as a whole”.

The move was initiated after a task team was established in 2009 to investigate poor curriculum implementation in schools.

“[It recommended], among other things, changes to the programme and promotion requirements, in the Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phase,” the statement says.

The changes were then published in the Government Gazette in September 2011, containing the new promotion and progression requirements.

The department said the new promotion requirements were, however, not aligned with the National Senior Certificate (NSC) promotion requirements, which is a national benchmark.

“Hence, there is a need to align the promotion requirements across the Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phase with the FET band.”

The department said it was monitoring the implementation of the new requirements in the various provinces.

Consultation process
To minimise the impact of the higher promotion requirements in the senior phase, the department had allowed for the adjustment of marks.

“In 2016, given the adverse impact of the compulsory pass requirement of Mathematics at 40%, a special condonation [sic] dispensation for Mathematics was applied.”

The department said it would embark on a broad consultation process with stakeholders on the amendments to the foundation, as well as intermediate and senior phase promotion requirements.

Relating to the senior phase of schooling, the department proposed passes in four subjects at 40%, one of which is a home language; passing any other four subjects at 30%; and Mathematics removed as a compulsory promotion requirement.

“Once discussed internally and externally, approved and promulgated, the relevant policy and curriculum changes will be communicated to all relevant stakeholder bodies by means of official curriculum and examination circulars. At this point this is merely an issue for internal discussion and broader public consultation.” – News24

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Kaveel Singh
Kaveel Singh
News 24 Journalist.

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