BED's decision on math pass level has been misunderstood - Mary Metcalfe

Spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga, confirmed on Thursday that learners in grades 7, 8 and 9 who only obtained 20% in mathematics will be allowed to move to the next level if they had passed all other subjects.

This allowance for a 20 percent pass mark applies only for 2016 and is a special intervention by the department.

CapeTalk/702's Stephen Grootes spoke to Mary Metcalfe, professor of education at Wits University and former director general of Department of Higher Education, on whether the department has made the right decision.

Metcalfe believes some have misunderstood the department's action.

What I have been arguing is that the department is not lowering the pass mark to 20% which is what many people are believing.

Mary Metcalfe, professor of education at Wits University

The allowance only applies to learners who will continue with maths literacy and who have passed all other subjects.

It makes sense because learners who are still getting below 30% in maths are not going to be proceeding with pure maths and shouldn't be held back if they are going to succeed in maths literacy.

Mary Metcalfe, professor of education at Wits University

Metcalfe says the policy will help with improving the number of children who are dropping out because of multiple failures.

It will be a good thing if we can assist those young people to stay in school and proceed with maths literacy, says Metcalfe.

Listen further to hear Metcalfe argument on 20%reduction on maths pass requirements.

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