Die kosbaarste besit van die Afrikanervolk is nie die ontrou van die verraaiers, die lafhartigheid of onbevooegdheid van die oorgeërs, die dienstigheid en ambisies van die vredepraters wat wil saamwerk of die ja-nee’s van die halfhartiges nie, maar die gees van geloof om die grense van sy witmanskap te bewaak ten einde trou te bly aan sy aard en geroepenheid in Afrika. (Jaap Marais)
In die artikel van die Mail & Guardian van Clive Kronenberg word tegelyk die onvermoë van die swart ras, die destruktiewe uitwerking van die politieke dwalings van die Vorster, Botha en de Klerkregerings en die botsende argumente van die liberalis geboekstaaf vir elke mens wat dit lees se nugtere oordeel.
Vir Kronenberg se standpunt dat die swak prestasie in wiskunde die ontoereikende wiskundige opleiding van die Departement van Onderwys sedert die apartheidsjare is, kan ‘n mens net jou kop in ongeloof skud! Om die waarheid te sê, illustreer dit die liberalis se volgehoue refleksie op die gewone mens se intelligensie. Wanneer hy tegelyk die mislukking van sy eie liberale siening, wat kulmineer in die “democracy” van die een-mens-een-stem “demokrasie” in die vorm van die ANC regime beskryf en die Afrika prestasie ignoreer asof dit nie bestaan nie, bewys hy ook sommer die oorsaak en gevolg van die toestand waarin Suid Afrika verval het sedert die Afrikaner se hoë standaard vervang is met dit wat hy in hierdie artikel beskryf! Veral as hy sê: “South African pupils’ chronic underperformance in maths is not a one-off event. It has become entrenched. An earlier study shows that pupils’ basic maths abilities – calculating fractions, simple number sense, analysis and probability – have steadily declined.”
Niemand is so blind as hy wat nie wil sien en so doof as hy wat nie wil hoor nie!! Haal elke Afrikanerkind uit die staatskool en onderrig en voed hulle tuis op. Meet dan weer die verskil en sien waar lê die moeilikheid. Dit was reeds 2000 jaar gelede dat Seneca verklaar het dat gebrek aan vertroue nie die gevolg van moeilikheid is nie. Moeilikheid is wel die gevolg van gebrek aan vertroue!
Het die Afrikaner vertroue verloor? Indien ja, dan het ons nodig om introspeksie te doen. Al twyfel ons in onsself, is die God op wie ons vertroue moet wees deur ‘n vaste geloof, nog steeds daar en nog steeds net so getrou as wat hy tot die dood toe was! In dié dinge wat ons van ander volke, rasse en nasies onderskei kan word, naamlik Godsdiens, taal, geskiedenis, ras, kultuur, daarin setel ons identiteit en prestasievermoëns wat ons uit God’s Hand ontvang het!
Waar ons politieke mag deur verraad verval het, het dit nie ons Afrikanerskap ook laat verval nie! Laat ons opnuut besef dat ons eie aard, waardes, standaarde, kultuur en taal ons kosbaarste besit is en dan daarvolgens presteer. Laat ons nie verder toelaat dat ons kinders aan ‘n stelsel onderwerp word waar 20% goed genoeg is nie!
The department of basic education in South Africa has reacted to pupils’ exceedingly low attainment rates in maths education in a controversial fashion. It has issued an urgent circular to its heads of departments, principals, managers, directors and exam and curriculum heads outlining a “special condonation dispensation”. This applies to pupils completing grades 7, 8 and 9 in the 2016 academic year which has just ended.
(Clive Kronenberg 29 Dec 2016 01:31)
Why pressured schools had no choice but to relax maths pass mark 20% maths decree sets a dangerous precedent for schooling in South Africa
Pupils who did not meet the 40% criteria in mathematics will now be able to progress to the next grade provided they met all other pass requirements and obtained more than 20% in mathematics. Only those who passed Grade 9 maths with 30% or more will be allowed to continue with the subject.
Those who achieved in the 20% band will have to take mathematical literacy in the last years of their school careers. This is a somewhat different and far less demanding subject.
The move has been widely condemned from most quarters. For instance, the education department in the Western Cape province warned that if no “drastic action” is taken, “we will be sitting in the same position next year”. Indeed. The national department claims that its directive constitutes “an interim measure”. But how does it hope to address the crisis in maths education in future years? What can be done to instil pupils with the valuable, relevant skills developed through good maths teaching?
Building critical thinking skills
South African pupils’ chronic underperformance in maths is not a one-off event. It has become entrenched. An earlier study shows that pupils’ basic maths abilities – calculating fractions, simple number sense, analysis and probability – have steadily declined.
Pupils’ 20% pass reflects crisis in maths teaching
All of this illustrates the debilitating burden that generations of South African children have had to endure, from the apartheid era until the present day: an education system that has failed them. It has not inducted pupils into the custom of thinking and reasoning on logical, rational and critical terms. Critical thinking is a vital skill.
Research has shown that a well-cultivated critical thinker raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely. They are able to gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively. They can reach well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards.
Drop in grade nine maths whizzes could affect SA’s future
The relationship between “mathematics education” and “more complex thinking” is typically symbiotic and mutually inclusive. Good, productive mathematics education can positively raise pupils’ skills in diagnostic, methodical thinking.
Defective teaching and learning could consign them to a school life steeped in frustration, fear and failure. This is precisely the fate of those perpetually strugglin in this crucial area of learning.
Primary school pupils’ gross underachievement in maths education suggests they may not have been equipped, at their relevant levels, with the skills needed to think and reason effectively and meaningfully. This is why the subject occupies such an eminent place in global schooling assessment criteria – not only because of its content but for the skills that are transferred and developed alongside it.
The education department argues that some students are more inclined towards the arts while others are better with technical subjects. This is not well founded. David Pearson, a scholar of cognitive psychology, refers in his writing to the domain of neuroscience which has confirmed that “everyone uses both sides of the brain when performing any task”. Pearson argues that while certain impulses of brain activity have occasionally been associated with creative or cogent thinking,
…it doesn’t really explain who is good at what – and why. Studies have actually revealed considerable overlap in the cognitive processes supporting both scientific and artistic creativity.
Here’s another, fairly widespread fable about maths: “The ability to factorise quadratic functions is not a prerequisite for an educated child”. Such standpoints devalue the subject’s more authentic meaning. Instead, it’s important to ponder what happens when an education system continually fails to equip its students with the aptitudes required by so many positions or professions, even if those aptitudes are not explicitly mathematical.
Employers have long recognised that applicants with maths credits are more inclined to succeed at jobs that call for logical reasoning, precise enquiry and careful deduction. Not only this but a wide and protracted variety of job descriptions and professional occupations – in both the sciences and humanities – call for maths education to a lesser or greater degree.
A dangerous precedent
South Africa’s maths dilemma should not be perceived purely on narrow, technical grounds. The domain of mathematics education must be seen instead in its full complexity and for its potency to endow pupils to meet some of life’s most vital challenges. Children’s dismal failure at maths is a reflection of an education system that has continually quelled their capacities to arrive at sound answers based on accurate reasoning.
Drastically lowering standards – such as “condoning” a 20% mark – sets a dangerous precedent from which the country may not recover for years. The education department’s directive essentially diminishes the great and important role of maths in children’s general educational as well as their broader human development. Such a course, regrettably, will assuredly exacerbate an already dire situation.
Maths education can only really flourish and generate more fruitful outcomes within the context of a well-functioning national education system. It is here, arguably, that the real problem lies. South Africa’s education system is merely a reflection of its broader social system. This is generally characterised by high levels of economic and social inequality, poverty, violence and abuse, and dysfunctionality.
It stands to reason, then, that positive educational change is incumbent upon profound social change. In the absence of social change, however, what is the fate of the overwhelming majority of South Africa’s 12-million and more school-going children today? My own field studies show the importance and usefulness of gaining a deeper understanding of how certain poor, isolated schooling communities have endeavoured to overcome the odds.
Such an approach presents a prospective framework – broadly defined – for others to emulate or, at the very least, to contemplate while real social change remains obscure and elusive.
Clive Kronenberg, NRF Accredited & Senior Researcher; Lead Coordinator of the South-South Educational Collaboration & Knowledge Interchange Initiative, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.