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Basic educations to decrease mathematics pass mark in grade7-9

Simphiwe Khoz

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has recently made headlines in proposing to decrease pass mark requirements and possibly scrap mathematics as a required subject to pass the grade for learners in grade 7-9.

The Department of Basic Education (DBE)

This comes after the ever decreasing South African education system once again seems to be failing South Africans. As it stands today the pass-mark requirements for learners are as follows:

The Fundamentals subjects which include Life Orientation, First Fundamental Language, Second Fundamental Language, Mathematics and Math’s Literacy are sitting at 40% pass mark and the three nonfundamental subjects are sitting at 30% pass mark.

The DBE released the National Assessment Circular no 3 of 2016 on the 8 December 2016, which in essence said the grade 7, 8, or 9 who has met all requirements to pass the grade but has not attained 40% pass mark in math’s and therefore has to be retained, can be condoned in math’s with a minimum of 20% in Math’s.

The circular also made mention that grade 9 learners who obtain a minimum mark of 20% will not be allowed to take Mathematics in grade 10 and will, therefore, be compelled to take Mathematical Literacy, only a minimum of 30% is required for the learner to take Mathematics in grade 10.

Today the DBE is once again coming back to propose that Mathematics may not be compulsory for some learners to pass their grade, especially if they do not intend to go further with it into grade 12.

Mathematics in South Africa seems to be the problem that always leads to the education system either being changed or altered. What begs the question is “what exactly is the problem with our education?” A question that no one in the DBE has been able to answer over the years.

The department rather dwells upon the idea that it could either be the teachers, learners or the system itself, in which case the system has been changed numerous times but the sector seems to be failing each time.

This is, in essence, coming back to the fundamental idea that the education system in South Africa continues to fail its citizens. Money keeps being injected into the sector and not much return for value is yielded out of it.

Instead, curriculums are constantly changed and implemented with rather disastrous results which always end in the department either decreasing required pass marks or changing the system again and again.

Our children keep being on the receiving end of poor education which does not seem to yield any good results and yet the department does not seem to have a permanent plan to reach a solution to the crisis at hand.