The DA calls on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to carry out a full skills audit, assessing the subject knowledge and teaching competency of all Maths, Science and Technology teachers, and insisting that those found in need of assistance, receive it regardless of SADTU objections.
The DA is deeply disappointed in the second-term Minister’s response to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) report, in which the state of South Africa’s mathematics and science education is reflected as the worst in the world.
Minister Motshekga’s departmental press release calls the WEF’s finding a false insinuation, and states that "This perception index is based on interviews conducted with business sector executives and reflects nothing more than their personal perceptions." However, these business leaders, as major employers, are well-placed to assess the standard of the skills displayed by the young people they employ.
The Minister’s own task team presented a damning report on the issue of maths, science and technology education in October 2013. Yet, seven months later, Minister Motshekga has not announced a single proposal for the hierarchical structures that will allow for the formation of a dedicated Maths, Science and Technology unit.
There have been gains, but the overall picture is still frightening. In 2003, 90% of students in Grade 9 failed to reach the “low” level of achievement in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) testing. In 2011, 76% of students failed to achieve this level.
2013 Annual National Assessments showed 3% of Grade 9 learners to be grade-appropriately numerate. In 2012, the figure was 2%.
There is therefore no false insinuation in the WEF report.
This is a state of emergency, and requires appropriate, urgent action.
The DA does not doubt the gains, and nor do we imply that there is no excellence in our system. There is. But it exists despite Minister Motshekga’s department and not because of it.