12 September 2013 Volume :1 Issue :1

Workshop strives for answers to improve high school maths results

Workshop strives for answers to improve high school maths results
Educators sharing their concerns at the SAICA Maths workshop.

Finding innovative educational methodologies to improve mathematic results at Kwazulu-Natal’s high schools was the goal of the South African Institute of Charted Accountants maths educators workshop held at UKZN recently.

The workshop created a platform for educators, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) members and academics from UKZN’s School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Schools Liaison and Academic Services at the College of Law and Management to come up with ways to get pupils to excel in mathematics which plays a vital role for pupils hoping to pursue commerce, engineering, medicine and other degrees at university.

Presenters comprising SAICA’s Transformation and Growth Project Manager, Mr Xolela Sohuma, Tax Lecturer Mr Khaya Sithole, Schools Liaison officer Ms Sarda Pillay and College Academic Services Manager Ms Marian Kirsten highlighted strategies educators can adopt in the classroom to get pupils to enjoy mathematics.

They also explained the subject’s role in careers in finance, what the University expects from the students when it comes to academic performance, how the University’s point system worked and procedures for applications.

‘Maths is a gateway subject, that is why we have partnered with UKZN in one of the SAICA transformation flagship projects where we took more than 200 learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to assist them to improve their mathematics,’ said Sohuma.  ‘As educators you have to find out the benefits available to the students and go back to the classroom and assist them with achieving good marks in the subject that can open many doors for them.’

From an academics perspective, Sithole shared with the educators the reality of how pupils who are not well prepared for the transition from high school to tertiary level perform poorly. He encouraged the educators to adopt a parental role in the classroom and nurture their pupils and mould them to become future leaders.

‘As teachers, I believe there is a parallel link between the University and the education fraternity. Therefore it is our responsibility to collaborate and help our children instead of encouraging them to take maths literacy as it is an easier option.  Pupils who do maths literacy are not the ones who will be running our economy in the future, we need to keep the engagement lines open and help our children in any way we can because they are our future leaders.’

Educators used the opportunity to highlight challenges of constant curriculum changes and lack of resources which cripple the delivery of quality education.

Turnaround strategies for maths education which came out of the workshop were delivered to the Department of Education for consideration.

author : Thandiwe Jumo
author email : jumo@ukzn.ac.za