Teaching, curriculum need rethink – experts
EXPERTS say the proposal to remove maths as a compulsory pass requirement and to reduce the pass mark of a home language to 40% won’t fix education’s problems, suggesting teaching methods and the curriculum should be reviewed instead.
Basil Manuel, executive director of the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), said they raised serious concerns at the “knee jerk” reaction.
“Regarding Grade 9 particularly, 85% of whom fail maths. There are thousands of teachers teaching Grade 9 who set different tests – you can’t just adjust the pass mark. It cannot be the only problem, they have to mine a little deeper to see why so many pupils fail.”
He was commenting on the Department of Basic Education’s proposals for new promotion requirements – that pupils pass four subjects at 40%, one of which is a home language; pass any other four subjects at 30%; and for maths to be removed as a compulsory promotion requirement. This would align the promotion requirements across the foundation, intermediate and senior phases with the further education and training band.
Naptosa believes the curriculum may be too broad, or the way the subjects are taught is problematic.
Professor Labby Ramrathan of the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Education said while the proposed changes may be considered in the best interest of pupils who had difficulty with these subjects, it was not good for the quality and credibility of the system.