Research Article

Secondary mathematics education in South Africa and Zimbabwe: Learning from one another

Eric Machisi 1 *
More Detail
1 Lotanang Mathematics and Science Center, Polokwane, SOUTH AFRICA* Corresponding Author
Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, 4(1), 2023, ep23007, https://doi.org/10.30935/conmaths/12812
Published: 07 January 2023
OPEN ACCESS   104 Views   79 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)

ABSTRACT

This comparative research examines secondary school mathematics education systems in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Data were gathered through the examination of mathematics curriculum policy documents, syllabi, exam papers, research reports, and the author’s personal experiences. The findings suggest that both countries can learn from one another. Lessons for South Africa include increasing the time and pass mark for mathematics exams, as well as spreading continuous assessment over a longer period of time. South Africa may possibly reduce the number of subjects offered in grades 11 and 12 to allow learners more time to study mathematics. Redesigning question papers to include optional questions for learners could also be beneficial. Lessons for Zimbabwe include increasing mathematics education resources and mandating mathematics for all advanced level candidates. Zimbabwe may also conduct trial examinations and hire mathematics curriculum advisors to assist mathematics teachers in schools on a regular basis.

CITATION (APA)

Machisi, E. (2023). Secondary mathematics education in South Africa and Zimbabwe: Learning from one another. Contemporary Mathematics and Science Education, 4(1), ep23007. https://doi.org/10.30935/conmaths/12812

REFERENCES

  1. Aldous-Mycock, C. M. (2009). The implementation of C2005 in mathematics and science classes in Mpumalanga [Doctoral thesis, University of Twente]. https://doi.org/10.3990/1.9789036527590
  2. Bowen, G. A. (2009). Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2), 27-40. https://doi.org/10.3316/QRJ0902027
  3. Buabeng, I., Owusu, K. A., & Forster, D. N. (2014). TIMSS 2011 science assessment results: A review of Ghana’s performance. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 3(2), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.5430/jct.v3n2p1
  4. Busetto, L., Wick, W., & Gumbinger, C. (2020). How to use and assess qualitative research methods. Neurological Research and Practice, 2(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1186/s42466-020-00059-z
  5. Cardno, C. (2018). Policy document analysis: A practical educational leadership tool and a qualitative research method. Kuram ve Uygulamada Eğitim Yönetimi [Educational Management in Theory and Practice], 24(4), 623-640. https://doi.org/10.14527/kuey.2018.016
  6. Chikusvura, N., Sibanda, L., & Mathwasa, J. (2021). The competence-based advanced level mathematics curriculum: Implications for students’ enrolment in one university in Zimbabwe. Randwick International of Education and Linguistics Science Journal, 2(1), 8-19. https://doi.org/10.47175/rielsj.v2i1.194
  7. Christie, P. (1999). OBE and unfolding policy trajectories: Lessons to be learned. In J. Jansen, & P. Christie (Eds.), Changing the curriculum: Studies on outcomes-based education in South Africa (pp. 279-292). Juta & Co.
  8. Clark, R. (2012, January 9). Maths vs. math literacy: The continuing debate. Mail and Guardian Thought Leader. https://thoughtleader.co.za/maths-vs-maths-literacy-the-continuing-debate/
  9. Cohen, M. (2017). SA spends higher proportion of budget on education than US, UK. Fin24. https://www.news24.com/Fin24/sa-spends-more-on-education-than-us-uk-and-germany-20170105
  10. Cranfield, C. (2012). The implementation of mathematical literacy as a new subject in the South African curriculum. In M. T. Tatto (Ed.), Learning and doing policy analysis in education: Comparative and international education (pp. 207-232). Sense Publishers. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6091-933-6_8
  11. Dalglish, S. L., Khalid, H., & McMahon, S. A. (2020). Document analysis in health policy research: The READ approach. Health Policy and Planning, 35(10), 1424-1431. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czaa064
  12. Department of Basic Education. (2011a). Curriculum and assessment policy statement grades 10-12: Mathematics. Department of Basic Education.
  13. Department of Basic Education. (2011b). Curriculum assessment and policy statement grades 10-12: Mathematical literacy. Department of Basic Education.
  14. Department of Basic Education. (2014). Curriculum and assessment policy statement (CAPS) grades 10-12: Technical mathematics. Pretoria: Department of Basic education.
  15. Department of Education. (2001). Education in South Africa: Achievements since 1994. Department of Education.
  16. Department of Education. (2002). Revised national curriculum statement grades R-9 (schools). Department of Education.
  17. Donnelly, K. (201). Apples and oranges: comparing our education system with other countries doesn’t always work. The Conversion. https://theconversation.com/apples-and-oranges-comparing-our-education-system-with-other-countries-doesnt-always-work-31174
  18. Frey, B. B. (2018). The SAGE encyclopedia of educational research, measurement, and evaluation. SAGE. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506326139
  19. Gao, J. (2022). The flaws in how we compare education systems. Datadriveninvestor.com. https://medium.datadriveninvestor.com/the-flaws-in-how-we-compare-education-systems-fd6ff3eee59b
  20. Gerassi, J. (2021). Let’s remove life orientation from grade 10, 11 and 12. News24. https://www.news24.com/parent/learn/learning-difficulties/opinion-lets-remove-life-orientation-plus-another-elective-from-grade-10-11-and-12-curricula-20210831
  21. Goldstein, H. (2008). How may we use international comparative studies to inform education policy. Revue Francaise de Pedagogie [French Journal of Pedagogy], 164(3), 69-76. https://doi.org/10.4000/rfp.2087
  22. Gory, D., Bhatia, J., & Reddy, V. R. (2021). From content knowledge to competencies and exams to exit profiles: Education reform in Zimbabwe. In F. M. Reimers (Ed.), Implementing deeper learning and 21st century education reforms (pp. 145–169). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-57039-2_7
  23. Henry, P. (2015). Rigor in qualitative research: Promoting quality in social science research. Research Journal of Recent Sciences, 4, 25-28.
  24. Hungi, N., Makuwa, D., Ross, K., Saito, M., Dolata, S., van Capelle, F., Paviot, L., & Vellien, J. (2010). SACMEQ III project results: Pupil achievement levels in reading and mathematics. Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.27312.35841
  25. Jansen, D. J. (1998). Curriculum reform in South Africa: A critical analysis of outcomes-based education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 28, 321-331.https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764980280305
  26. Kayesa, N. K., & Shung-King, M. (2021). The role of document analysis in health policy analysis studies in low and middle-income countries: Lessons for HPA researchers from a qualitative systematic review. Health Policy OPEN, 2, 100024. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hpopen.2020.100024
  27. Kridel, C. (2017). An introduction to documentary research. American Educational Research Association. http://www.aera.net/SIG013/Research-Connections/Introduction-to-Documentary-Research
  28. Machisi, E. (2020). Van Hiele theory-based instruction, geometric proof competence and grade 11 students' reflections [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. University of South Africa.
  29. Masiyiwa, G. (2018). Tablet could help fix textbook shortage in Zimbabwe’s schools. Global Press Journal. https://globalpressjournal.com/africa/zimbabwe/tablet-help-fix-zimbabwes-school-textbook-shortage/
  30. Mhute, N. V. (2019). Zimbabwe School Examination Council online mark capturing and grading system [Unpublished honours dissertation]. Midlands State University.
  31. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. (2015a). Curriculum framework for primary and secondary education 2015-2022. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
  32. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. (2015b). Mathematics syllabus forms 1-4: 2015-2022. Curriculum Development and Technical Services.
  33. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. (2015c). Mechanical mathematics syllabus. Curriculum Development and Technical Services.
  34. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. (2015d). Pure mathematics syllabus forms 5-6: 2015-2022. Curriculum Development and Technical Services.
  35. Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. (2015e). Statistics syllabus forms 5-6: 2015-2022. Curriculum Development and Technical Services.
  36. Morgan, H. (2022). Conducting a qualitative document analysis. The Qualitative Report, 27(1), 64-77. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.5044
  37. Mullis, I. V., Martin, M. O., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS 2015 international results in mathematics. TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center.
  38. Mullis, I. V., Martin, M. O., Foy, P., Kelly, D. L., & Fishbein, B. (2020). TIMSS 2019 international results in mathematics and science. TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center.
  39. Mullis, I. V., Martin, M. O., Foy, P., Olson, J. F., Preuschoff, C., Erberber, E., Arora, A., & Galia, J. (2008). TIMSS 2007 international mathematics report: Findings from IEA’s trends in international mathematics and science study at the fourth and eighth grades. TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center.
  40. Nxumalo, M. (2015). Call to scrap maths lit. Independent Online. https://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/kwazulu-natal/call-to-scrap-maths-lit-1939355
  41. Prendergast, M., & O’Meara, N. (2017). A profile of mathematics instruction time in Irish second level schools. Irish Educational Studies, 36(2), 133-150. https://doi.org/10.1080/03323315.2016.1229209
  42. Punch, K. F. (2013). Introduction to social research: Quantitative and qualitative approaches. SAGE.
  43. Rensburg, I. (2009). Reflections from the inside: Key policy assumptions and how they have shaped policy making and implementation in South Africa, 1994-2000. In A. Kraak, & Y. M (Eds.), Education in retrospect-Policy and implementation since 1990 (p. 76). Juta & Co.
  44. Richards, K. A., & Hemphill, M. A. (2018). A practical guide to collaborative qualitative data analysis. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 37(2), 225-231. https://doi.org/10.1123/jtpe.2017-0084
  45. Rylands, L. J., & Coady, C. (2009). Performance of students with weak mathematics in first-year mathematics and science. International Journal of Mathematical Education, 40(6), 741-753. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207390902914130
  46. Schmidt, M. J. (2017). The perils of outcomes-based education in fostering South African educational transformation. Open Journal of Political Science, 7(3), 368-379. https://doi.org/10.4236/ojps.2017.73030
  47. Sidiropoulos, H. (2008). The implementation of a mandatory mathematics curriculum in South Africa: The case of mathematical literacy [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Pretoria.
  48. Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board. (2020). Mathematics: Singapore-Cambridge general certificate of education advanced level higher 2(2022) (syllabus 9758). Pdf4Pro.com. https://pdf4pro.com/download/9758-y21-sy-mathematics-h2-level-for-2021-seab-620932.html
  49. South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. (2018). Don’t let mathematical literacy count against your child. SAICA. https://www.saica.org.za/news/dont-let-mathematical-literacy-count-against-your-child
  50. Stuckey, H. L. (2015). The second step in data analysis: Coding qualitative research data. Journal of Social Health and Diabetes, 3(1), 7-10. https://doi.org/10.4103/2321-0656.140875
  51. Sunzuma, G. (2018). Exploring in-service Zimbabwean teachers’ preparedness to incorporate ethnomathematics approaches to geometry teaching and learning [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of KwaZulu-Natal.
  52. Suter, L. E. (2011). International comparative studies in education. In W. S. Bainbridge (Ed.), Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education–Leadership in science and technology: A reference handbook (pp. 842-850). SAGE. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412994231.n96
  53. Taylor, N. (2012). Curriculum 2005: Finding a balance between school and everyday knowledges. In U. Hoadley, J. Jansen, Y. Reed, M. Gultig, & M. Adendorf (Eds.), Curriculum: Organising knowledge for the classroom (pp. 255-261). Oxford University Press.
  54. Taylor, N. (2021). The dream of Sisyphus: Mathematics education in South Africa. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 11(1), a911. https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v11i1.911
  55. Udale-Smith, A. (2012). Why maths should be comulsory for all A-level students. The Guardian News. https://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2012/jul/26/why-a-level-maths-should-be-compulsory
  56. Vasu, D. J. (2019). Pedagogy of mathematics. Pedagogybyvasu.blogspot.com. http://pedagogybyvasu.blogspot.com/2019/06/aims-and-objectives-of-teaching.html
  57. Vermeulen, J. (2022). End South Africa’s 30% matric pass mark. Mybroadband. https://mybroadband.co.za/news/trending/429524-end-south-africas-30-matric-pass-mark.html