According to a report by CapeTalk, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) has instructed public schools to make allowances for all Grade 7 to 9 pupils who have obtained 20% in mathematics, yet pass their other subjects.
The newly appointed head of the Western Cape Education Department, Brian Schreuder, confirmed the new education requirement in an interview with the radio station.
He stated that the reasoning for this was that pupils were passing all subjects expect for mathematics, a compulsory subject to pass.
The DBE website said: “On 2 December 2016, the DBE released National Assessment Circular 03 of 2016, entitled, special condonation dispensation for learners in the senior phase (Grade 7 -9). The urgency of issuing the Circular arose from reports received from school principals and provincial officials across the country alerting the DBE of the extremely poor performance of Senior Phase learners due to the compulsory requirement of learners having to pass mathematics at 40%.”
It explained that the decision to apply a condonation dispensation in view of the stringent pass requirements was an administrative decision that had to be within the limited time available; and that the circular should be considered as an interim measure for 2016 and is only applicable for Grades 7, 8 and 9.
DBE concluded: “The Circular does not undermine the policy intention of Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement CAPS on raising the bar in terms of promotion requirements by having taken the bold step of making mathematics a compulsory promotion/progression requirement. Nor, does it limit efforts to improve mathematics attainment. However, in raising standards there is a need for a gradual transition from the current to the higher envisaged standards hence this policy review that is underway and this interim condonation dispensation.”