Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is encouraging learners to take up pure mathematics after completing grade 9.

Motshekga says the department is working to improve the foundation learning stages at schools.

“We have to make sure that we continue to have more learners getting into maths so that we have higher intakes in maths.”

“By the time children reach grade 10, when they are supposed to go into grade 11 and 12, the foundations that they come with or the deficits that they come with strangle them and they find it difficult to cope with maths at an FET level, or even have the confidence to go through after grade 9 to take up maths. So we need to sort out the foundations if we are to sort out the problems,” says Motshekga.

On Tuesday, the Minister announced the 2019 national matric results in Midrand, Johannesburg.

The pass rate reached the 80% mark for the first time since the dawn of democracy.

Motshekga says improving the foundation learning stages at schools will also help improve learner outcomes.

She adds that the department also aims to curb repetition and drop-out rates.

“We have one of the highest repetition rates. After grade 9 we also experience high drop-out rates simply because the foundations are weak and sometimes learners find it very difficult to continue to climb up.”

“So we have to sort out the foundations to deal with our high repetition rates and dropout rates. We are only at 36% for bachelors, our target is 50% bachelors even if they all don’t go to universities, we have to improve the quality of our passes.”

The Department of Basic Education says it acknowledges the challenges faced by schools in rural areas, including the need for infrastructure development.

Minister Motshekga says all stakeholders need to address issues around school infrastructure to help create better learning environments for learners.

“It pains us more than anybody to see our young professionals, young teachers, working in the environments the find themselves in. It pains us to visit schools and find that we can’t even motivate learners because we accept and acknowledge that the environment is not suitable. But we are saying, with them, let’s work together whilst government is continuing to improve infrastructure and conditions and lets do the best under all the difficult circumstances,” says Motshekga.