Task team urges matric shake up

Johannesburg - The recommendations of a ministerial task team on the way matrics are taught and tested could set in motion a major shakeup of our education system, reports the Sunday Times.

According to the newspaper, the national senior certificate task team has not yet made its results public but have handed their report over to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The task team is believed to have recommended major changes including raising university entrance standards, dropping life orientation classes, raising the matric pass mark to at least 40% in three subjects and making maths a compulsory subject at all schools.

Teachers have also come under the spotlight, with the task team making sweeping recommendations that include teachers who moderate the final matric exam must be appointed using stricter criteria; that teachers marking final exams papers must have the necessary qualifications and expertise and that the way schools award marks during the year must be monitored so that standards can be universally maintained.

The report also suggested sweeping changes to matric maths and maths literacy – with the recommendation that maths be offered at all schools.

The report, drawn up by education academics, has been handed over to the minister but still needs to be put to education union Sadtu, which in the past has been a stumbling block regarding education reform.

Maths teachers fail

This follows the recent findings that matric maths teachers in KwaZuluj-Natal performed dismally when tested with a past matric maths paper, as reported by SAPA.

Research was carried out with 253 teachers in the province to investigate their knowledge of the subject they are teaching.

Teachers got an average mark of 57%, and a quarter of them got below 39%.

The research was published in the "Perspectives in Education Journal" in March and authored by Thokozani Mkhwanazi and Sarah Bansilal from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Deonarain Brijlall from the Durban University of Technology.

The difficulty of questions in a maths exam is broken down into four levels, with level four being the most challenging.

The teachers who wrote the test managed an average of 26% on level four questions, which made researchers question how they could be teaching their pupils.

"The results of this study raise concerns about the teaching of maths by (Grade 10 to 12) teachers whose knowledge is so poor," the researchers were quoted as saying.

Jacques Potgieter 2014/08/03 08:37:50 AM
Watch the complaints streaming in that matric will become too difficult. Protests start, classes burned down and people killed.
Mageba 2014/08/03 08:44:13 AM
Well, here we go again...
On The Edge 2014/08/03 08:47:40 AM
Yip, not only that Jacques, I applaud the sentiment however, not all pupils excel at Maths. I do believe that many will end up leaving school prematurely in an attempt to avoid the inevitable end results of dismal failure... Better to start at grass root levels, identify Math boffins or potentials and drive proper teaching programs that will ensure successful results and ensured Math students in Grade 10 through to University...
Greg Bremner 2014/08/03 08:48:21 AM
"Teachers got an average mark of 57%, and a quarter of them got below 39%." This is a disgrace to our teaching profession. How can they continue to teach a subject that they barely know only half of what is taught, or should be taught.
Ntuthuko Dlamini 2014/08/03 09:11:32 AM
Mmm this is a shame.
Rassie Erasmus147 2014/08/03 09:13:11 AM
Sounds to me like an old document from the Apartheid Era!! So now just implement it to all schools!
TrueBlue 2014/08/03 09:15:03 AM
What must be questioned is why a union within the Tripartite Alliance be consulted when this same union has in essence taken control of education in the Eastern Cape, and starting in KZN. SADTU are minor stakeholders in this. The whole South African population needs to be consulted. SADTU is the biggest stumbling block to the advancement of education simply because they are not interested in teaching and education. Their sole purpose is as a rung on a ladder towards joining the political elites in the ANC. They have turned the profession into a factory floor bargaining council and turned what should be a place for educated professionals into nothing less than a place for anyone who should never have been allowed into a classroom in the first place unless to clean it. They don't want critical thinkers, but sheep who follow their dictates and commands to strike, burn and pillage. Educated people don't do that. They write letters, they protest peacefully, they write poetry, songs, books and articles. And they respect their learner enough to know that their problems do not get taken into the classroom. They sacrifice so that the next generation can be better than the last. And they educate themselves more and more to do a better job.
Nofreehandouts 2014/08/03 09:18:30 AM
And why are the teachers so useless? Because we live in a country where mediocracy is acceptable. We believe in promoting people to new levels of incompetence.
Wynne Strydom 2014/08/03 09:35:31 AM
What is the most important, a matric paper or a good enough education? You cant buy or just get brain power from some ware , if you have it you got it. Shame on all the idiots that want to blame apartheid. We are one South Africa, one nation. Here aren't any more schools in bushes, just idiots stealing from themselves. Who are burning down schools, who are preventing kids going to school in the Northern Cape, definitely not the so called "whites". Make it more difficult to pass matric, look at sectors where people are working without a good qualification, no service.
wendy.crause 2014/08/03 09:41:09 AM
Finally a step in the right direction. I don't, however, believe 'we' need to 'consult' with SADTU. Maths must be offered at all schools to give those that are capable of passing the subject an opportunity to complete their matric with maths as a subject. Those that can't must do maths literacy. That said we now have the challenge of finding well qualified and dedicated teachers that CAN teach maths. Maths and physical science teachers are defined as scare and crutucal skills by the ETDP-SETA.