Today DA Shadow Minister of Basic Education, Nomsa Marchesi, shared information about a “major decline” in STEM subject enrolment for South African Matric students.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to provide urgent plans on the work it is doing to reverse the alarming trend of decreases in Matric enrollment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects,” Marchesi writes.

To back on up this point Marchesi has provided numbers for the decline of three South African school subjects related to STEM. The numbers shared below show the decline between the years 2016 and 2020:

  • Mathematics decreased by 40 385
  • Physical Sciences decreased by 18 461
  • Life Sciences decreased by 21 940

As stated by the Department of Basic Education earlier this month 1 058 699 students will write the 2020 Matric exams. This is a record high amount in the country which makes the decrease in STEM subjects even more worrisome.

The 2020 Matric exam season starts very soon on 5th November. More than a million students will write until the season ends on 15th December, and the results are planned to be released after that on 22nd January 2021.

With this year being a disaster for education both in the country and the rest of the world due to the pandemic, many are rightfully concerned about the pass rate for students, especially when it comes to the more difficult STEM subjects.

“Provincial Education Departments have also reported that among Grade 11s Mathematics and Physical Science recorded the lowest averages compared to all other subjects. This also means that in 2021 we can expect even fewer students to take these demanding subjects,” adds Marchesi.

[Image – LUM3N on Pixabay]