Maths and Science grant not producing results
27 July 2018
The Democratic Alliance has requested a briefing by the Northern Cape Department of Education regarding the quality of math and science education, particularly in the eighteen schools across the province which receive funding from the Maths, Science & Technology Grant.
The eighteen high schools funded by the grant in 2017 saw an overall decline in performance and actually have lower success rates than the provincial average, meaning that this funding is somehow not translating into academic success for learners who need it most.
This grant is specifically earmarked to provide resources to schools in line with the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements and aims to ensure that there is improved learner participation and success rates in Math, Science and Technology subjects. A recent presentation done by the department to the National Assembly, however, reveals that this is just not the case in the Northern Cape.
The eighteen high schools funded by the grant in 2017 saw an overall decline of 4% in their pass rates for grade 12 learners, with declines as high as 13% at both the Thabane High School and the Pampierstad High School and 20% at both the Hoërskool Veritas and the Kegomoditswe High School. While we do welcome improvements at some schools, such as the increase of 11% at Umso High School, 15% at the Olebogeng High School and 23% at the K.S. Shuping High School, many schools with improved pass rates had a smaller cohort of learners and the overall decline is still far too worrying to leave much room for happiness.
Furthermore, the overall pass rate for Mathematics at these eighteen high schools was only 49,8% and the overall pass rate for Science was 48,9%. Both declined from 2016 to 2017 and is below the provincial average of 57,4% for Mathematics and 56,8% for Science respectively.
Some schools have pass rates in the single digits, such as the Boresetse High School with a pass rate of 8.5% for Science, and the only school which could maintain a 100% pass rate for Maths and Science only had one learner enrolled for the subjects.
The MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, mentioned in her budget speech last month that training will be provided for teachers in grade 5 and grade 6 to improve foundational skills in Maths and Science. Considering the difficulties the department itself had reported in the past with getting educators to show up for training, it is not clear how effective this initiative will be in improving the quality of education offered to our learners.
The Democratic Alliance believes strongly in the value of quality education, as it is through education that we empower our youth to pursue their goals. We cannot allow the underperformance of schools benefiting from the Maths, Science & Technology Grant, as these subjects are critical to the success of our future leaders and innovators.
Issued by Safiyia Stanfley, DA Provincial Spokesperson on Education in the Northern Cape, 27 July 2018