Culture meets culture: mathematics in and around us

Mathematics is and will remain an important subject in South Africa as well as the world. Experiencing success in Mathematics is likely to result in learners choosing careers in the sciences, health sciences, engineering, commerce or other key professions.

For learners to achieve success in Mathematics, it is vital that our mathematics teachers are qualified in the subject and are able to deliver quality lessons to learners. These quality lessons will make learning more meaningful, relevant and appropriate. In seeing Mathematics as part of our everyday life, as part of our culture, we hope to restore the joy of doing mathematics across all grades, by making Mathematics more accessible, and in this way improve learner performance.

For far too long in South Africa, Mathematics as a school subject has been a sifter rather than an enabler. It sifted learners out of the scarce careers that our country so desperately needs. The introduction of Mathematical Literacy has, unwittingly, aggravated this problem. Mathematical Literacy was introduced to give learners, who would not normally take up Mathematics in Grade 10, the opportunity of leaving Grade 12 with some basic or elementary mathematical knowledge to enable them to function effectively as a citizen in the 21st century. Unfortunately the focus, in reality, is for schools to improve their overall pass rates, rather than having quality passes.

The Congress 2018 theme calls on all AMESA members and mathematics teachers to refocus efforts in classrooms with quality teaching and learning. Mathematics must be alive and be part of our everyday life.