16 October 2007
The Dinaledi schools project aimed at increasing access to maths and science at higher-grade level in underprivileged schools has contributed to a steady increase in the pass rate in those subjects, and as such the number of participating schools will be expanded from 400 to 500 in 2008, says the Department of Education.
“We hope to see 50 000 mathematics passes on Higher Grade by 2009,” Department of Education director general Duncan Hindle told members of Parliament in Cape Town this week, adding that the department was confident that the momentum would build over time.
“Although there had been a dip in 2006, there has been an enormous growth in the number of passes on standard grade,” Hindle said. He said the numbers suggested that more students could have passed on higher grade if they had been given the necessary teaching support.
He said that as part of efforts to increase the number of science literate students, the department has tested 4 500 maths and science teachers to check their competency levels in teaching such subjects.
In 2006 the department reported that in terms of teacher development 120 master teachers were appointed and an additional 2 400 teachers were being trained.
Hindle said that incentives would be given to the teachers involved in the project, and support from the department would be supplied in various districts, while coordinators have been appointed and a mathematics, science and technology unit has since been established in the department.
“The number of learners writing mathematics on the Higher Grade has increased,” he said, adding that there had been more than 6 500 learner who achieved an A pass mark on standard grade during the 2006 examinations, with numerous B and C passes.
Hindle told members of Parliament that he now wanted to see more learners changing to higher grade in their subjects.
Most improved schools
In March this year, 10 of the Dinaledi schools were awarded at the Most Improved School Award. Speaking at the award ceremony, Education Minister Naledi Pandor said the key objectives of the awards were to recognise and acknowledge schools that were performing well and have achieved good results.
She said recognising and acknowledging schools that are showing consistent improvement and highlighting successes and identifying possible role models was important.
The schools were awarded for improvement in home language and English second language, mathematics and overall consistent improvement.