The report ‘Mathematics outcomes in South African Schools: What are the facts? What should be done?’ summarises two specially commissioned Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) reports. Both are independent studies of the state of schooling in South Africa as at early 2013.
They indicate that, despite some improvement, South Africa still underperforms in maths education, as a result of poor-quality teaching and other factors. The report also puts South Africa’s mathematics results in an international context, analyses general schooling system inefficiencies, and analyses the origins and depth of poor mathematics schooling.
The report notes that improving maths teaching and learning in public schools will not happen fast, and poor maths and numeracy in public schools will accelerate private schooling growth and enrolment in private extra maths lessons.
A sustained focus on teacher-training enhancement is necessary, and it will likely take a decade or more to achieve significant results regarding maths teaching. In the meantime, the majority of young South Africans are unqualified for many types of work in a knowledge-focused economy.