Matric mathematics pupils at sixes and sevens

MORE THAN 30000 of KwaZulu-Natal's 46000 matric maths students failed the first quarter of 2009, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union said yesterday.

MORE THAN 30000 of KwaZulu-Natal's 46000 matric maths students failed the first quarter of 2009, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union said yesterday.

"We are very worried that we are heading for yet another bad matriculation pass rate," Sadtu provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi said.

He said the figures come from the provincial education department - but department officials were not available for comment.

"It is shocking that 26000 maths pupils got between 0 and 29percent during the first assessment," Mathonsi said.

"On top of the 26000 students who dismally failed, another 6000 maths pupils got between 30 and 39percent, which is also a failing mark."

He said the union's attempts to persuade the education department to implement a programme to improve the pass rate had failed.

Mathonsi said another 18000 students had failed science. He blamed the high failure rate on a lack of teachers qualified enough to teach maths and science.

Mathonsi said the failure rate was particularly bad in KwaZulu-Natal's Bonjeni area, on the north coast, and on the lower south coast.

"We believe that the training of teachers will still help this year's matric students," Mathonsi said.

He said the union had obtained more than R1million from the Moses Kotane Institute to train matric maths and science teachers.

He appealed to private companies to help fund the training programme.

Mathonsi also claimed that the department had refused to work with the union on its training initiatives. - Sapa

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