Less than half of South Africa’s matrics will sit for maths final exams this year and, if annual maths pass rates are anything to go by, even less are set to pass.

This was revealed in a series of replies to parliamentary questions posed by the DA’s Annette Lovemore to the Department of Basic Education minister Angie Motshekga, relating to the number of grade 12 learners enrolled to write final maths, physics and life sciences exams for 2014 and 2015.

The department responded to the replies, revealing that only 40.8 per cent of matrics have enrolled to write maths, down from 42.3 per cent in 2014, 43 per cent in 2013 and 44.3 per cent in 2012.

“This should be the cause for serious concern,”Lovemore wrote on the DA’s website. “Mathematics as a subject is critical for ensuring that our children receive the skills they will need to access tertiary education, and to subsequently get a job.”

Matrics across South Africa were required to register before 15th March for all final exams, according to the education department’s website. Final exams start on 26th October.

The DA also said the department has no clue how many grade 10 learners chose maths as a subject this year “despite having issued a circular in 2014 instructing that all secondary schools must offer mathematics in the FET phase (Grades 10 to 12), and that schools already offering mathematics must increase their numbers, starting in Grade 10”.

When asked by the Mail and Guardian about the declining maths statistics, departmental spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga responded with an email stating that the number of learners taking maths and maths literacy in high school had gone up since 2012.

Of the matrics who wrote the maths finals last year, only half (53.5 per cent) passed and 3.2 per cent achieved distinctions.

Lovemore notes that current measures to improve these statistics by the Department of Basic Education, including a R347 million grant, are not enough to effect the needed change on their own.

“The DA will therefore also submit further parliamentary questions to find out why the Minister is not gathering this important data,” Lovemore said.

[Source – DA, image – image – Steven S]