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'Untrained teachers produce 13% pass rate'

A 13 percent pass rate for grade nine maths has some of the nation's top educators in a state of shock.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga (L). Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A 13 percent pass rate for grade nine maths has some of the nation's top educators in a state of shock, and calling for the Department of Basic Education to pull up its socks.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga released the Annual National Assessments Results for 2012 on Monday in Tembisa.

She revealed that grade nine pupils scored an average of 13 percent for mathematics.

The minister said pupils were too afraid to enroll in "pure" maths classes.

"Learners are scared of taking maths because they see other kids failing. So to get them to pass and take maths, we have to make sure the pass rates improve so that kids have confidence in taking those subjects."

But the University of Johannesburg's dean of education, Professor Sarah Gravett, said a poor foundation of maths in primary school, poorly trained teachers and language difficulties may have contributed to the results.

"One has many teachers who are not well-trained to teach in a foundation phase and I think there is a definite problem."

Gravett believes more emphasis on teacher training will help raise the numbers.