Drop in grade 9 maths whizzes could affect SA’s future
The lead researcher for an important international study has red-flagged the drop in the number of grade nines who excel at maths, pointing to its potential effect on the county’s future thought leadership and economy.
The number of grade nine maths whizz kids fell to 62 last year from 104 in 2011, one of the unsettling findings to emerge from a comparison of statistics of high-fliers who participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) in 2011 and 2015.
The decrease in mathematical boffins is “a red flag”, says Vijay Reddy, the Human Sciences Research Council’s chief researcher in the Timss. “We absolutely need these people [top performers] for thought leadership and to grow the economy.”
Reddy says that the Department of Science and Technology’s National System of Innovation (NSI) was dependent on a group of high-fliers.