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SA has worst maths, science education in world

SA has worst maths, science education in world

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2014 Articles based on World Economic Forum (WEF) reports which place South Africa in 148th place out of 148 Countries.

With the 2015 Matric exams on the way and national statics to be released within December let’s see what the real statics say, as they don’t lie.

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

THE department of basic education has dismissed a World Economic Forum (WEF) report which places South Africa’s maths and science education last out of 148 countries.

Under the “skills” sub-category, the 2014 World Economic Forum report places the quality of South Africa’s maths and science education in last place, behind less-resourced countries such as Haiti, Lesotho, Chad, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya. The overall perceived quality of South Africa’s education system has also plummeted from 140 to 146 of 148 countries surveyed.

The report has further added to already existing negative perceptions of South Africa’s education system. The quality of the education system has time and again been questioned. The Human Sciences Research Council has said South Africa’s growth is stifled by a severe skills shortage, particularly in science, technology, engineering, maths and accounting, and that this gap has largely been blamed on the poor quality of teaching.

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.

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.

It noted that the national strategy was out of date, there was a shortage of qualified teachers, and curriculum changes over the last 10 years had negatively affected teaching.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

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

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

The department of basic education said on Monday that the WEF global report was “unfortunate”.

“The report is not a credible or accurate reflection of the state of education in South Africa,” said the department’s Elijah Mhlanga.

“This report falsely insinuates that South Africa’s mathematics and science education is ranked as the worst in the world. The department rejects this finding as it is based purely on the opinions or perceptions of selected executives,” he said.

Mr Mhlanga said that the report did not base its research on any actual tests or assessments done by learners, “they do not in any way interact with learners in the system or any credible education institutions to get their data”.

“This perception index is based on interviews conducted with business sector executives and reflects nothing more than their personal perceptions. Credible international assessments into the state of mathematics, science and technology education in South Africa have consistently shown an improvement in the performance of the country in this regard,” Mr Mhlanga said.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said Monday that it would write to the chairperson of the Basic Education portfolio committee, requesting that the issues raised by the report be prioritised and that minister Angie Motshekga be summoned to Parliament to “account for what appears to be the worsening state of our education system immediately”.

“Last year the ministerial task team established to investigate the progress of teaching programmes in maths, science and technology across South Africa released a damning report that exposed gaping holes at every level of our education system,” the DA’s education spokeswoman Annette Lovemore said.

The task team report found that the national strategy meant to shore up mathematics, science and technology skills among pupils was out of date and had been overtaken by developments in these key subjects.

The task team, headed by Prof John Bradley, director of the Wits University-based Centre for Research and Development in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, was appointed by Ms Motshekga last year to probe the implementation of the government’s 2001 mathematics, science and technology (MST) strategy.

The national strategy aimed, among other goals, to increase the human resource capacity to deliver quality mathematics, science and technology education.

The report says the strategy has some “curious and concerning features”. For example, the acronym MST is generally translated as mathematics and science. The T, for technology, is largely disregarded.

 

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