1 Book 1 Learner

Is Mathematics performance in high schools responsible for the economic well-being of our nation?

More studies are coming up, done by different reputable universities and organizations around the world, that absolutely agree with the above and categorically state: “Yes it does!”

In 2009 a study was done by Harward University scholars showing that a country’s economic growth was most clearly attributable to the mathematical proficiency of its high school learners than to their proficiency in other subjects.

A similar study was done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation in Europe (OECD) who found that Maths results directly impact the economic well-being of a nation, which reflects in the GDP (Gross Domestics Product).

They showed – based on their investigation – that where the Maths results are steadily declining, the country has a steadily declining economy or GDP. And in those countries where Maths results were good the economy was benefiting, and the GDP was growing.

It is not hard to comprehend when one sees that core Maths is a key subject in almost 160 different professions that are crucial to a country’s economy. Those are doctors, engineers, teachers, pilots, electricians, you name it.

Only 55% of matriculants in South Africa passed Maths in 2022. And with the pass rate being 30% it sounds quite alarming but not surprising looking at our continuously declining economy for the past couple of decades.

We are all aware of different problems that our country is encountering on a daily basis. But those problems do not just happen on their own. They are created by people.

But imagine yourself sitting in a plane about to arrive at your final destination and your pilot comes on the intercom and says: “Ladies and gentlemen we are approaching our final destination. Please buckle up. By the way I just got my flying exam results. My pass rate during the final exams was 30%. I learned how to take off and how to fly the plane. I miserably failed in landing the plane so please pray I manage to land this machine safely.”

South Africa is like this airplane, and I really hope it lands safely. There is too much at risk.

With all my love to you my fellow South Africans,

Paul Sondergaard

P.S. Something always can be done about it, and we are doing it on the daily basis. My Maths Buddy One Book One Learner project and it’s BRICKS campaign are working daily to uplift Mathematical standards in this country and we will continue to do so together with our amazing and dedicated project partners.