Failure in Mathematics in South Africa will soon be a thing of the past following the move by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to rope in an NGO – Teach South Africa to help the country. Truly, the importance of knowing, studying and having mathematics teachers can never be undermined in South Africa. And according to Minister of Basic Education, Mrs. Angie Motshekga, the shortage of qualified mathematics teachers in the system has been a great challenge in the country.
However, in a bid to cushion this problem, the DBE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TEACH South Africa to help deploy “TEACH Ambassadors” in schools that lack qualified mathematics teachers.
Speaking via a statement, Motshekga said the Memorandum “forms part of the DBE’s national strategy to address the shortage of mathematics teachers‚ as well as ensuring the promotion of mathematics as a subject necessary for the growth of the South African economy.”
She also described the initiative as an important step in the right direction. “We need to continue to work with our partners in civil society to ensure that we begin to see improvements‚ not only the numbers of learners who take up mathematics as a subject‚ but we also want learners to come back into the system as qualified mathematics teachers one day,” she added.
We will recall that the minister stated in 2015 during a parliamentary response that one in four schools do not offer maths in grades 10‚ 11 and 12 because of teacher shortages and a low pupil enrollment.
Presently, the Teach South Africa’s recruitment team has been visiting universities around the country to fish out graduates who would be willing to teach maths to school pupils, especially in rural areas. The NGO already recruits and selects young graduates in the field of Mathematics‚ Science and English from universities across the country and places them in disadvantaged and rural schools for a minimum period of two years.
Confirming the bilateral relationship, Teach South Africa asserted that in the partnership, the organization will place volunteers in schools that are located mostly in rural areas where it is often difficult to attract qualified mathematics teachers.
Teach South Africa Executive Director Richard Masemola noted that “School districts in the Eastern Cape‚ KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo had the lowest number of students who passed matric in 2015”. Masemola however applauded education minister Motshekga for addressing the issue by ensuring quality mathematics teachers are placed specifically in these areas.
Placement Of Teach South Africa Ambassadors
Meanwhile, Teach SA has announced on its website that placement of ambassadors is done in conjunction with school districts and private sector partners and that school districts and private sector partners are responsible for paying its ambassadors.
The NGO also asserted that since its inception in 2009‚ it has placed 382 graduates in eight provinces and in 228 schools‚ helping about 25‚000 learners. And that to date‚ 57% of Teach Ambassadors remain in the teaching profession‚ thereby increasing the pool of teachers in these scarce skills.