Depart­ment’s de­ci­sion does not add up

CityPress - - Voices -

The de­ci­sion by the depart­ment of ed­u­ca­tion to drop the pass rate for maths to 20% for grades 7 to 9 is an ap­palling in­dict­ment of our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment, chil­dren in those grades who ob­tained 20% in maths, but who passed all other sub­jects, would be al­lowed to progress to the next year.

This de­ci­sion has no merit. It is a lazy, badly rea­soned and in­el­e­gant so­lu­tion to the prob­lems fac­ing our chil­dren and their ed­u­ca­tional needs.

To put it sim­ply, 20% is two out of 10. It is not a pass rate and it is not a test of skill and knowl­edge; it is a cop-out.

Maths is the cor­ner­stone of our world. Ev­ery­thing we do has its ba­sis in maths – sci­ence, mu­sic, art, run­ning your own busi­ness, plan­ning, crit­i­cal think­ing. None of th­ese things is pos­si­ble with­out a de­cent work­ing knowl­edge of maths.

The jobs of the fu­ture are cal­cu­lated in num­bers.

What has been done here to mil­lions of chil­dren is in­ex­cus­able. We are con­demn­ing sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of our chil­dren to be­ing ille­quipped to deal with a rapidly chang­ing world.

This de­ci­sion does not af­fect the chil­dren whose par­ents can af­ford to pay for ex­tra classes or pri­vate tu­tor­ing. This de­ci­sion af­fects the need­i­est chil­dren in our coun­try. They are the ones who will be let down by a badly run ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem be­fore they even en­ter for­mal school­ing.

What the depart­ment is do­ing here is show­ing us that fail­ure is the new nor­mal; that we are not pre­pared to in­vest time and ef­fort to al­low our chil­dren to com­pete in this world.

As philoso­pher Roger Ba­con so el­e­gantly said: “For the things of this world can­not be made known with­out a knowl­edge of math­e­mat­ics.”

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