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Education: 2011 Matrics raise the bar

Mathematics

During a live television broadcast, Minister Motshekga said she was pleased to announce the national pass rate of 70,2 per cent for 2011, an increase of 2,4 per cent on the 67,8 per cent achieved in 2010.

The percentage of candidates who qualified for university studies increased to 24,3 per cent, up from 20,1 per cent in 2008. A total of 104 033 candidates passed Mathematics, while 96 441 candidates achieved a pass in Physical Science.

The pass rate for Mathematics is 46,3 per cent in 2011, a decline from 47,4 per cent in 2010. In Mathematical Literacy, 236 548 learners passed, compared to 241 576 in 2010.

Minister Motshekga welcomed the improved performance in Physical Science – given the subjects priority status – but expressed concern about candidate performance in Mathematics.

“We have a strategy in place, which we will vigorously implement in 2012 to improve the pass rate and the quality of Mathematics and Physical Science – the National Strategy for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education,” the Minister announced.

“Our focus will be on four areas: improving the participation and performance of girl learners, helping schools to improve learners’ subject choices, ensuring correct placement of teachers, and focusing teacher development efforts on subject and pedagogical content knowledge.”

Highest pass rate

The Western Cape registered the highest pass rate at 82,9 per cent, up from 76,8 per cent in 2009, an improvement of 6,1 per cent. Gauteng achieved 81,1 per cent, up from 78,6 per cent in 2010 and an improvement of 2,5 per cent.

North West achieved 77,8 per cent, up from 75,7 per cent, an improvement of 2,1 per cent. Northern Cape achieved 68,8 per cent, down from 72,3 per cent in 2010, a decline of 3,5 per cent.

Free State achieved 75,7 per cent, up from 70,7 per cent, an improvement of 5,0 per cent. KwaZulu-Natal achieved 68,1 per cent, down from 70,7 per cent in 2010, and a decline of 2,6 per cent. Mpumalanga achieved 64,8 per cent, up from 56,8 per cent representing the largest improvement by a province.

Limpopo achieved 63,9 per cent, up from 57,9 per cent and an improvement of 6,0 per cent. The Eastern Cape achieved 58,1 per cent, down from 58,3 per cent in 2010, and a decline of 0,2 per cent.

The 2011 National Senior Certificate examinations were free of incidents and proceeded without any significant problems.

Action plan to 2014

Minister Motshekga said the department’s work was guided by the long-term strategy for improving quality education, Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025. Going forward, performance in the National Senior Certificate examinations and in the Annual National Assessments for Grades 3, 6 and 9 will provide evidence on whether we have achieved targets of our action plan.

While there is still a great deal of work to be done, the department has made great strides in many areas. Examples are growth in Grade R enrolment, which more than doubled between 2003 and 2011. In addition, more young South Africans are accessing basic education and completing Grade 12. And more young people are completing Grade 9, from 80 per cent in 2003 to 88 per cent in 2010.

The workbook programme will be extended from Grades 1 to 6 to Grades 7, 8 and 9 in all schools. This will help improve access to educational material and teacher guidance and promote literacy and numeracy. This expansion will complement the introduction of the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), which will be phased in from this year.

The new CAPS constitute one of the major steps to improve our curriculum. Every subject in each grade now has a single concise CAPS. This provides specific content on what teachers ought to teach and assess grade by grade and subject by subject. This year, the CAPS will be introduced in Grades 1 to 3 and 10. Teachers have been trained and learning support materials developed for successful implementation.