Education plays a pivatol role in addressing massive inequality that exists between and aming rural, farm, multi grade and urban schools.

Driving improvement in teacher development and learner competencies is unconditional if we are to grow as a country. Education plays a pivotal role in addressing inequality. An approach with full support of government, unions and business is critical in addressing the magnitude of challenges. The way of the future in schools is to implement a united force between the Parent, the teacher and the child in order to best support the learner in his/her education.

At an educational level, in order to understand the base from which we are operating, it is important to reflect on where we currently are.

Whilst data exists for all grades, we are choosing to highlight statistical data in the form of Matric Diagnostic reports. This data shows the knock on effect of learning from younger years and how the lack of sufficient understanding and skills from younger grades affects longer term education. To this end, we can see in mathematics that:

  • The Algebraic skills of learners is poor
  • Learners lack fundamental and basic mathematics competencies which could have been acquired in the lower grades
  • Whilst calculations and performing well-known routine procedures form the basis of answering questions in a mathematics paper, deeper understanding of definitions and concepts cannot be overlooked.
  • Teachers should teach factorisation intensively
  • Teaching should explain the meaning of roots of an equation and show the graphical representation of the different scenarios.
  • Candidates should subtract two negative numbers correctly.
  • Teachers need to realise that learners understanding of the concepts is more important than them merely doing routine procedures in a section.
  • Learners need to be made aware that algebraic manipulation is not the only method to solve questions. Some questions can be solved more efficiently with the use of graphs.
  • Learners need to get enough practice in determining the equations and drawing the graphs of the inverses of the prescribed functions.
  • Etc

You will notice from some of these examples above that emphasis on skills, concepts and fundamentals is imperative. In order to excel we need to understand the basics and grow from them, upwards!

So, how do we swing the South African mathematical issues in schools towards EVERY CHILD WILL PASS MATHS?

By, providing new methodologies for teaching and learning in the delivery of the mathematics curriculum. This will be achieved by excellence in teaching.

A maths teacher has a tough job. They need to be supported with solid grounding in teaching concepts and skills. To correctly impart the knowledge to learners, they require a unique ability to engage and communicate with their learners in order to get learners enticed and willing to participate. They need to know how to turn maths into a fun subject. This probably sounds impossible, but Clever Minds has mastered these competencies and wants to share them with all who are involved in teaching mathematics.

Not all learners like math but a good math teacher has the power to change this. A teacher who is competent can help learners who have normally struggled to build confidence and excel. For learners who have created a barrier to entry in the subject, a good math teacher can breathe new life into the subject.

Cleverminds Education

Learn to understand

Cleverminds Education

Grow your knowledge & apply it

Cleverminds Education

Love Maths

Cleverminds Education

Learner Achievements Must Rise

Suellen Shay, Professor, University of Cape Town NEWS, published a recent article as a point of reflection on Mathematics teaching and learning:

“Mathematics develops logical reasoning and problem-solving and hence a “gateway” subject for many of the professions such as engineering, commerce and health sciences.

What do the final exam results say about the size and quality of the pool of matriculants who passed mathematics? What does their performance at tertiary level demonstrate about the pool of graduates ready to enter a workforce affected by changing work environments, particularly the rise of technology?

Small pool

The data suggest that the pool of matriculants who wrote mathematics is small and not strong. Over the past five years significantly less than 50% of the matric final exam writers wrote mathematics as a subject. Of the 11 top subjects, mathematics is consistently the lowest performing. In 2018, out of a total of 270,516 mathematics writers, 37% passed with 40% and above. The percentage pass has been consistently between 30 and 35%.

From the point of view of selective universities who require 80% and above for programmes in commerce, engineering, science, health sciences and quantitative social sciences, the pool is extremely small. Out of the total mathematics writers, 5828 passed with distinction (80% or above) which is only 2.6% of mathematics writers.

From this very small pool universities then compete to attract and retain this highly talented students. How well are they doing? Data collected on the past three years performance (2015-2017) of an entry level mathematics course in one of South Africa’s selective universities shows a sobering reality: those who come in with a National Senior Certificate mathematics mark of 90% and above pass the course (with an average mean of 64%). Those who entered with a score below 90%, fail the course. This is a course convened and taught by award-winning, highly committed teaching staff, where significant resources have been allocated to provide additional support for students, including an extended degree taught by highly experienced teaching staff.

Failure of higher education

South Africa can draw two conclusions from this data: firstly, although growing and strengthening this pool will require efforts at primary and secondary level, the onus for growing the pool of qualified graduates lies with higher education. This underscores the argument made in 2013 by the Council on Higher Education which pointed to systemic failure of universities because they were failing to graduate the strongest pool of students that the schooling system had to offer.

Even if the schooling system is able to enlarge the pool of matriculates passing mathematics, the data suggests that this will not inevitably result in a larger pool of students who succeed in mathematics as a gateway to their chosen field of study. There is a great deal of work to be done at university level to grow and strengthen the pool from the existing talented school leavers. Secondly, the problem of the “gap” between schooling completion and university preparedness is not new. Nor are solutions: South Africa has 30 years of interventions aimed at addressing this problem. However, a critical look at the high failure rates in these gateway courses (such as mathematics, physics, statistics, economics) despite a wide range of interventions would suggest that the sector is not doing as well as it should.

Perhaps some of the persistent educational problems, in part due to gross educational inequalities, require a different way of thinking. Perhaps the higher education sector needs to shift its resources from interventions for those deemed “at risk” (thereby leaving the rest unchanged) and to focus on systemic change. This means focusing on structural changes and the core business of teaching and learning itself – curriculum that is flexible to accommodate diversity, teaching that actively engages students, assessment that not only tests but promotes learning.

Contrary to the perception that this constitutes a “lowering of standards”, these systemic changes will profoundly raise the quality of teaching for all.

Higher education has no choice but to work with the pool of talent it receives. The challenge is how.”

Driving scalable systemic change in mathematics to enhance our mathematics competencies as a country

Ensure educational commitment.

Would You Do It?

Remember that together, a partnership with us will:

  • Manage and ensure the development of teachers, education governance and education management including
  • Support teachers in presenting learning systems
  • Develop education governance capacity
  • Develop training management capacity
  • Research and analysis of teacher development needs
  • Create a database of all teachers including their existing qualifications, Sace registrations and ETDP Seta accreditations
  • Create the required teacher development, support and mentoring programmes
  • Support, monitoring and analysis of the implementation of learning programmes, systems and learning support materials as well as related
  • In-service education and training for teachers
  • Provide development, support and training
  • Develop a consolidated departmental register of teacher training needs and programmes.
  • Assist in setting standards for performance development
  • Promote integrated development planning
  • Promote partnerships with all stakeholders involved in the reconstruction and development of teacher training and implementation of curriculum policy frameworks

The Clever Minds Magic Maths and Magic Buddies programmes have already been implemented in:

  • Over 650 primary schools (Grades 1 - 7)
  • Over 1250 High schools (Grades 8 - 9)
  • Over 6000 Magic Buddies kits (which translates to 76 000 learners) (Grade 9)
  • Over 100 subject advisor kits
  • Training for over 350 principles and 1200 teachers

It is relative to highlight that the money that has been spent has only allowed for the Department of Education to embark on various initiatives that have aided in very pleasing results :

In grade 3, our program supported a growth of 17%

In grade 6, our program supported a growth of 40%

In grade 9. Our program supported a growth of 74%