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The Department of Basic Education has instructed public schools to condone all grade 7 to 9 pupils who have obtained 20% in mathematics.

In a move the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union has described as scandalous, the department told schools to bypass requirements of the national curriculum.

According to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (Caps), grade 7 to 9 pupils who pass all subjects and languages but fail maths by obtaining less than 40% should be retained.

In the circular sent to districts and schools last week, the department states it has come to its attention “that the current set of promotion requirements as set out in Caps may impact negatively on a high number of learners in the [grade 7 to 9] phase”.

“In light of [this] … a special condonation dispensation has been approved to accommodate learners whose promotion to the next grade level may be adversely affected by the compulsory requirement of passing mathematics at level 3 (40%),” read the circular.

It spells out clearly that where a pupil in grade 7, 8 or 9 met requirements but had not achieved 40% in maths “such a learner must be condoned provided they attain a minimum of 20%” in the subject.


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