April 24, 2017

20th anniversary of the South African Constitution


On 10 December 1996 President Nelson Mandela signed the South African Constitution in Sharpeville, Sedibeng District. The South African Constitutional process is attributed to the visionary leadership of ANC President Oliver Tambo. In the 1980s President Tambo appointed Constitutional Committee of the ANC comprising of, inter alia, Albie Sachs and Kader Asmal with a view to outlining a Bill of Rights for a new democratic South Africa. President Tambo instructed the committee to incorporate the demands enshrined in the Freedom Charter in formulating the Constitutional Guidelines. He was also responsible for the drafting of Harare Declaration which was adopted by…

The inflated value of maths


Starting now, South Africa’s pupils will be able to obtain as little as 20 percent   in mathematics in Grades 7, 8 and 9 and still progress to the next year of learning. This has been touted by many as evidence of an alleged inexorable decline in educational standards. The country is already known for its poor performance in international standardised assessments in mathematics. This latest move may be misconstrued as condoning such poor achievement. But the truth is a little more complex. For Grades 7 and 8 – when pupils should be between 14 and 15 years of age –…

‘Don’t make maths flops repeat’


Many South Africans were outraged by the recent announcement that for 2016, pupils in grades 7 to 9 could progress to the next grade with only 20 percent in mathematics. The usual minimum has been 40 percent, provided that all other requirements for promotion are met. Pupils with less than 30 percent in mathematics in grade 9 must take mathematical literacy   (this involves what the department of basic education calls “the use of elementary mathematical content” and is not the same as mathematics) as a matric subject. Public concern is understandable. South Africans should be deeply worried about the state of…