Maths 20 per cent pass mark not true, warns DBE

JOHANNESBURG – The Department of Basic Education urges members of the public to be cautious about information received from third parties regarding departmental matters.

The Department of Basic Education has noted with enormous disappointment that incorrect information has been shared on social media posts suggesting that the minimum pass requirements for mathematics have been ‘lowered to 20 per cent’ for grades 7 to 9. 

The spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, Elijah Mhlanga said that the department clarified the misunderstanding back in 2016 after some media platforms incorrectly reported on the issue. “It seems the matter has since resurfaced and it is being shared on social media as though it new information,” said Mhlanga.

Mhlanga said the following is what is true:

  1. There is no change to the minimum pass requirements for mathematics in grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
  2. The Minister of Education Angie Motshekga had, in 2016, made a special concession as part of a transitional arrangement following the implementation of the new CAPS in the senior phase schools. Simply put, the concession only applied to grades 7 to 9 learners, who had passed all the requisite subjects, except for mathematics, to be promoted to the next grade. When promoted, these learners would be allowed to opt for mathematical literacy, rather than continuing with pure mathematics.
  3. In terms of the National Education Policy Act, any policy change, would be made by the minister after consultation with the Council of Education Ministers, and using appropriate channels, such as a government gazette, or a circular – both which, would be communicated officially by the department.

“Some people have seemingly fallen victim to this fake news, accusing the department of having reduced the ‘pass mark for mathematics to 20 per cent’.  This could not be further from the truth.  It is mischievous of some people to take old information and make it look like it is a new policy directive. We condemn the misleading headline and the peddling of false information,” said Mhlanga.

The department urges members of the public to be cautious about information received from third parties regarding departmental matters and encouraged members of the public to rather seek official comment from the department.

The public is urged to take the following steps to avoid falling victim to fake news:

  1. Read what you received attentively (don’t believe things at face value);
  2. Check the source of the material (news articles, WhatsApp messages are not reliable sources);
  3. Verify via the Department of Basic Education website (it is always updated);
  4. Contact the department (Department of Basic Education social media platforms are accessible) to verify information at hand and seek clarity;
  5. Request correct information from the department
  6. Share the correct information.

South Africans are urged to refrain from sharing incorrect and misleading content that may cause confusion and panic, especially among parents and learners alike.

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