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WCED Focuses On Maths Challenges

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WCED Focuses On Maths Challenges: The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) briefed the Standing Committee on Education on subjects offered at schools and elaborated on the maths challenges experienced at schools. Here is what the department had to say.

The Standing Committee on Education (WCPP) had a virtual meeting with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) to discuss the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Agriculture and Coding (STEAMAC) subjects offered at schools. The department highlighted specific challenges related to maths being offered at schools.

Mr Christians expressed concern about the uptake of mathematics in schools. He noted that some learners would like to pursue professions that require mathematics as a subject to enter tertiary institutions but are not able to because their school does not offer mathematics as a subject.

These schools only offer mathematical literacy. Which only allows entry into certain tertiary education qualifications.

According to the department, schools decided to drop mathematics as a subject because more learners tended to choose mathematical literacy. The decision was also made because certain university courses, such as a Bachelor of Arts Degree, do not require students to have done mathematics at school.

In addition, the WCED is also experiencing a shortage of mathematics teachers. In an effort to address these issues, the department decided to revamp its initial maths strategy.

The department came up with several approaches to revamp the strategy and reignite interest in the subject. The WCED acknowledged that the needs in the system far exceeded what they were able to provide.

During the meeting, the department briefed the committee on its three streams education model and focus school plans. The three streams education model included an academic, vocational and occupational stream.

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The academic stream would prepare learners for well-rounded tertiary education and training. The vocational stream would prepare learners for professional learning and work.

And, lastly, the occupational stream would equip learners with the skills for trade and artisanal workplaces. The WCED stated that focus schools would serve as lead institutions which offer quality education to ensure excellence in nurturing learners with interest, aptitude or exceptional talent.

The department also discussed adding one more technically oriented school in each of its districts. However, the issue was whether the department would be able to afford it.

According to the WCED, the long-term goal is to increase learner enrolment and performance in technical, agricultural, and vocational education. Their aim is to double the number of learners enrolled in the technical and agricultural stream between now and 2024.

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