20 November 2005

South Africa: Outcry At Matric Maths Paper

Johannesburg — MATHS teachers have asked the Education Department to give matric students who wrote the higher grade geometry paper 50 marks as compensation because the paper was "problematic".

KwaZulu-Natal members of the Association of Mathematics Education of SA told Education Minister Naledi Pandor that the higher grade paper, worth 200 marks, was set "without due consideration to sound educational principles".

Pupils and parents in North West, Gauteng and Mpumalanga have also complained about the "extremely difficult" paper.

Three parents who are lecturers at Unisa lodged complaints via e-mail with Gauteng's Director of Examinations, Prem Govender.

Meanwhile, Penny Vinjevold, Deputy Director-General for Further Education and Training in the national Education Department, said on Friday that an investigation had been launched into the alleged leakage of the paper.

KwaZulu-Natal president of the maths education association, Vishnu Naidoo, told Pandor in a letter that questions were not constructed in a way that met recommendations made at national level in 2001.

A panel from the association said one of the questions was incorrectly phrased and a diagram was "not user friendly".

Charles Raseala, Director of Communications for the Education Department in North West, said teachers and pupils had expressed concern that the paper had been set at a standard that was "higher than expected".

Keorapetse Kgosiethata, principal of Letsatsing High School in North West, said his pupils had complained about the paper being "too long and too difficult".

Mpumalanga's Director of Examinations, Kayise Hlope, said complaints about diagrams being "very challenging" had been received.

However, Education departments in the Western Cape and Limpopo said they had received no complaints about the paper.

Education Department Director-General Duncan Hindle said that the association's recommendation would be referred to the moderation committee.

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