Grade Five learners of Sekgutlong Primary School in Katlehong who benefited from the My Maths Buddy One Book One Learner Project, an initiative of the South African Mathematics Foundation. The workshop was held at the school on July 11.
“Most of the learners from all over South Africa have found it difficult to understand mathematics as a subject, not necessarily because the subject is difficult but because the terms used in the learning area are difficult for learners to understand,” said Paul Sondergaard, co-author of the book My Maths Buddy.
He said My Maths Buddy is a friend of all learners who are struggling with mathematics.
“With dictionaries that explain all the difficult terms in maths, the book was specially designed to make the learning area very easy for learners,” Sondergaard said.
He said South Africa is probably one of the worst countries in terms of the standard of mathematics in the Western world.
To complicate the educational problem, our economy is in dire straits and politics is in turmoil. Yet learners still need to get to school, learn mathematics and enter a competitive job market where skills are essential to placement.
The My Maths Buddy One Book, One Learner Project, an initiative of the South African Mathematics Foundation, has taken up the challenge of bringing our maths standards out of the doldrums and up to an acceptable level.
On July 11, the Grade Five learners of Sekgutlong Primary School in Katlehong took part in this programme.
The workshops as well as 170 My Maths Buddy dictionaries were sponsored by CompAir SA and distributed to the learners.
CompAir SA has been sponsoring the Grade Five learners and maths teachers at the school since 2016 and the programme has had a positive impact on the school’s maths results.
Before they embarked on this project, only 12 per cent of the learners were passing maths. Now, as a result of My Maths Buddy, the pass rate is consistently 100 per cent. The target is not just to pass but to have all learners achieve at least a 50 per cent average.
“When you understand something really well, it is unlikely that you will fail at it,” said Sondergaard.
To date the workshops have been presented to more than 3 000 maths teachers and more than 12 000 learners across South Africa, with an average 14 per cent increase in results in about six months.
Maths teacher Mphonyana Mohono said: “Misunderstanding maths concepts is the reason learners struggle with the subject. I am certain the book will be a solution since it explains all the difficult terms.”
She said the book will make teaching maths fun again.
Sekgutlong Primary School principal Olga Maja said they were grateful for the support offered by My Maths Buddy.
“It is not the first time they are supporting the school. They have been with the school for a couple of years and we can see our school maths results improving. The book really is a solution to the learners’ problems. Thanks to My Maths Buddy,” said Maja.
The learners’ response to the project was one of great excitement as they realised they can do well in maths.
Lerato Thwala (11), a Grade Five learner, attended the workshop and had this to say: “I had problems with understanding maths questions and terms. As a result I lost interest in maths. I hated it with all my heart because I thought it is a difficult subject. After this workshop I realised that maths is not that difficult at all. From now on I will excel in maths.”
Another Grade Five learner, Asiphe Mbala, who wants to be a pilot, said she had problems understanding maths symbols.
“I was struggling so with maths that I was going to quit the subject when I reached Grade 10. As result I was going to shut down my dream of becoming a pilot. After today’s workshop, I realised that maths is not a problem at all. It was just misunderstanding maths symbols, which My Maths Buddy has explained. I am happy that my dream of becoming a pilot is not going to die after all because I am going to continue with maths in Grade 10,” said Mbala.
For more information on the project visit www.1book1learner.org.
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