I will write to the Minster of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, to request that she present an alternative to the proposed 1+4 Maths teaching plan, and that she does this with the urgency required of the clear crisis that exists in mathematics learning in South Africa.
I wrote to the Minister to raise numerous concerns after the announcement of her proposal that no Grade 8 or 9 maths will be taught on a Monday to allow all maths teachers to attend intensive training at workshops.
Our two major concerns are that any training conducted must be done outside of school hours, and that the training must be developed and delivered by highly credible individuals to stand the best chance of success.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) called on Minister to, with immediate effect, withdraw the circular mandating the Monday maths training to go ahead, and to
replace it with a practicable, well thought through alternative;
make full details of the training intervention available;
allow comment and input by expert stakeholders; and
have every maths teacher and subject advisor write independently-administered and marked tests to identify individual shortcomings on which training can be focused.
The Minister failed to respond to the questions posed. She provided no defence of her plan at all, and, instead, chose to launch a personal attack on me to which I have chosen not to respond.
When the 1+4 plan was discussed in the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education last week, I asked the Head of Maths, Science and Technology for the Department, Mr Seliki Thlabane, whether the stakeholders who had been very vociferous in their opposition to the plan were now in agreement with it.
He assured me that they were, and lamented the fact that this agreement had not been made public. His statements were bald-faced lies. In fact, six unions have registered complaints with the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), and are nowhere near agreement.
There is a desperate need for a turnaround plan for maths in South Africa. Unfortunately we are in the ridiculous situation we are now spending valuable time and energy arguing about a patently bad plan, rather than going back to the drawing board to come up with a truly practicable and effective plan.
Annette Lovemore
Shadow Minister of Basic Education

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