South Africans Are Really, Really Bad At Maths And Science — Nigeria Today
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South Africans Are Really, Really Bad At Maths And Science

Are South Africans stupid?

According to a recent survey, we are – but with a president who holds such a low level of education, what inspiration is there for learners to push themselves?

The Trend in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS), released this week, show that South African learners perform very poorly in maths and science. From MyBroadband:

More than 580 000 students in 57 countries took part in the study, which tests 10-year-olds and 14-year-olds in mathematics and science every four years.

TIMSS showed that pupils from East Asian countries – including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea – excelled in mathematics and science.

These countries all placed in the top six for science.

Russia placed fourth in science for 10-year-olds and seventh for 14-year-olds.

So how well did South Africa actually do? Well, our students finished second-to-last in maths and last in science for 14-year-olds. But that’s not even the worst of it:

In South Africa, grade 9 students write exams meant for grade 8 pupils, because the assessment is deemed too difficult for local grade 8 pupils.

This means that South Africa is at the bottom of the global rankings, even though our grade nines compete against other countries’ grade eights.

But before we get to the rankings, do bear these stats in mind:

Amongst the findings:

  • Learners with houses with flush toilets score 56 points higher in maths that those who do not;
  • Learners in households with running water score 54 points higher in maths than those who don’t;
  • Learners who do not experience bullying on a weekly basis score 68 points higher in maths that those who do; and
  • Learners who study in their home language score 60 points higher in maths than those who don’t.


Anyway, here we go:


And science?

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-33-46-am screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-10-33-52-am

Bleak, hey? So what can we do to change it?


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