In a 2016, a World Economic Forum study showed South Africa was ranked 146th out of 148 countries and in a 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, South Africa was ranked with the bottom five worst performing countries.
I was therefore completely inspired this past weekend to be part of two maths initiatives designed and funded by the Western Cape government that seek to build a culture of proficiency and excellence in maths education.
The annual YearBeyond Programme provides a platform for post-Matric youth who are not in education or employment to bring their innovative skills into the education sector, by using their own lived experiences in a classroom to design solutions for other youth still in school. This year the theme was “Making Maths FUNctional”. Some 98 post-Matric youth are participating in this year-long programme to improve a specific education challenge - in this case, maths tuition. They are using their own stories and learning difficulties to design solutions to improve the learning experience of other pupils. This is true innovative design-thinking.
The work they did was displayed on Friday at the UCT GSB Solutions Space in Philippi in the second round of the YearBeyond Education Innovation Challenge. It was inspiring to see the “FUNctional” solutions to maths education that the students came up with. It was clear that our children are not avoiding maths. They simply want it taught in a way that values them.