Problem Areas

Maths and science are subjects selectively categerorized and approved by the cabinet as gateway subjects. This notion should also be borne by learners who would like to further their studies in these subjects with a view to either working or realising their careers in the engineering, actuarial; natural sciences, information technology and medical fields in passing these subjects convincingly is a requirement for acceptance in institutions of higher learning in these respective fields.

We also know fully well that the state of education in South Africa has over time been a contentious issue, but we simultaneously also know very well that talk is cheap – especially where remedial action is either missing or non-existent from social referees. It is for this reason that the primary aim of One On One Community Based Programmes which is to add value to the South African society through all meaningful interventions in the educational sector has to this point focused its intervention endeavors on mathematics, science and chemistry.

As “Gateway” subjects categorised as such by cabinet, mathematics and science are pivotal to the pursuit of professions that require these subjects for qualification purposes . Social referees have over the years amplified the problem without any suggestions regarding solutions, which is why a holistic intervention is needed to address these challenges head-on.

Science & Chemistry

Research results from the work done by Prof. Corrie du Toit (University of the North West) in 2011, a year before the publication which was published in the Volksblad newspaper dated 15 March 2012 (page 7); confirmed that only 3772 of the 24000 public schools in South Africa had laboratories the year before the publication – a gap that may not be closed overnight but which requires action to offset the perpetual downside.

This further explains the error of judgment in making learners focus wholly on the theoretical aspects of learning without any practical input for completion purposes.

We have observed over time that children do not do well in science and chemistry in instances where they are not given the opportunity “TO DO SCIENCE” through experiments in the classroom, but are instead made to focus on only the theoretical aspects. That is in part what going to schools is for, but there is more that can be done to convert problems like these into programs.

The laying of a good foundation enables learners to follow those streams requiring science, chemistry and also mathematics; without which alternative but undesirable options are adopted for all the wrong reasons (for example, a high grade pass is and shall always be treated as an entry level requirement for related degrees).


The fact that mathematics is a compulsory subject for certain streams forces learners to pursue alternative streams if they are unable to cope through lack of appropriate intervention mechanisms, especially where the subject is a prerequisite for acceptance in some lines of study – eg. actuarial, medicine and financial studies.

Just like general science and chemistry in terms of “Gateway” categorisation, mathematics is also a compulsory subject for certain learning streams identified for pursuit by learners, and our failure to stem this downward spiral forces learners to consider alternatives which are inappropriate for the course – eg. maths literacy instead of pure mathematics.