Education department refutes claims that over 300 schools have dropped maths

The Basic Education Department has refuted claims that more than 300 schools in South Africa no longer offer mathematics.

In a City Press report on Tuesday, an association for Afrikaans mathematics teachers, Vereniging vir Afrikaanse Wiskunde-onderwysers claimed that it had obtained a list from the department of basic education itself.

It's alleged the trend appears to be attributed to the increasing numbers of pupils choosing to take maths literacy rather than "pure" mathematics.

Department spokesperson Elihjah Mhlanga says, however, the numbers quoted are from 2014 and that they have never heard of the organisation.

Since then we have done work with organisations who have helped us to make sure that maths is given the status that is required. The reason was the shortage of teachers.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education 

Between 2018 and 2019 there are 49 schools that stopped offering mathematics because other schools are offering technical mathematics, which was just introduced and the other reason is that some of these schools were closed.

Elijah Mhlanga, Spokesperson - Department of Basic Education 

Mhlanga says a statement will be released with the exact statistics.

Meanwhile, head of the Department of Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University, Prof Michael le Cordeur, says while he has come across schools that do not offer pure mathematics in the FET phase, these schools offer mathematical literacy.

What I have come across in my own research is that yes, there are schools who are not offering pure maths in grade 10, 11 and 12.

Prof Michael le Cordeur, Head of the Department of Curriculum Studies - Stellenbosch University

I am very sure it is not 300 schools because my research has shown that it is about 11% of schools in the districts that I have been investigating who are not offering pure maths in grade 10, 11 and 12.

Prof Michael le Cordeur, Head of the Department of Curriculum Studies - Stellenbosch University

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