By: Claire Allison
Passionate Cape Town maths and science teacher, Paul Carter, has teamed up with Cambridge University Press and South Africa?s leading online training company to create an eLearning project that he hopes will help improve the struggling matric maths pass rate. Carter feels this is the next step in his quest to make maths more accessible to those who think they can?t do it.
Of the 263,034 pupils who wrote the mathematics paper in 2010, 14% fewer than in 2009, only 47.4% of matric candidates passed the final exam, with a shockingly low 30.9% achieving the marks required for a university entrance.
When the class of 2010 received their results earlier this year, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said, "We are certainly not happy with the current number of passes in mathematics.' She went on to explain that the department is committed to continue investing resources and time to ensure that the quality of maths and its pass rate improve this year. Carter decided to step up and do something about the discouraging pass rates.
Speaking from his Cape Town home, Carter explained, "There is a real need in South Africa for improved maths education and I felt compelled to close the gap.' Many university faculties, especially the most popular engineering, science and commerce ones, place a heavy weighting on maths results. South Africa needs engineers, businesspeople and other skilled mathematical workers to break the cycle of poverty and improve the country?s overall welfare.
Carter has been teaching maths and science since 1997, including at two of Cape Town?s most prestigious schools, Bishops and Rondebosch Boys? High, and has authored 15 books, including all five of the Study and Master Mathematics Study Guides. He has also written features for publications like Hip2B2.
He explained that the Cambridge University Press Grade 12 Maths course is available to all matrics throughout South Africa who have internet access and covers everything learners need to prepare for their final matric maths exam. Spanning 12 weeks and covering the entire grade 12 maths curriculum, learners are provided with a platform where revision and rich feedback is possible when teachers are on leave and even during school holidays, when the all-too-important revision process is neglected.
Learners will be able to interact online with other matrics from around the country, share ideas and advice, and confront their maths demons in the safety and anonymity of an online forum. Parents will also be able to keep track of their children?s progress with detailed weekly feedback and will eliminate commuting time to extra maths classes.
Visit www.getsmarter.co.za for more information.