SA Journal of Education, Vol 39, No 3 (2019)

Finding the missing variables: A systematic review of mathematics improvement strategies for South African public schools

Claire Gaillard

Abstract


The future of South Africa’s economic growth rests on addressing critical scarce-skills labour shortages. Matriculants are called on to break the cycle of poverty by entering the scarce-skills workforce. The demonstration of a high level of mathematics, science, and technology competency is viewed as a gateway towards achieving this goal. The South African Department of Basic Education has invested much effort towards improving mathematics, science and technology competencies among learners by implementing various mathematics improvement strategies in public schools. The existing research, however, shows that these initiatives have yielded little success among learners from impoverished schooling contexts. Reasons for this limitation were explored by means of the systematic review reported on in this paper. The review focused on literature relating to mathematics improvement strategies in public schools implemented by the South African Department of Basic Education. The limitations of these initiatives were critically evaluated and gaps in various documented strategies were identified. The findings highlight an evident need for a shift in focus of future interventions if the national goal to address scarce-skills labour demands through educating the impoverished South African youth is to be successfully realised. Suggestions are offered on how this change might happen.

https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v39n3a1582

ORCiD iD of author:
Claire Gaillard – http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8210-5575

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