Subject Choices for Grade 10

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Faerie (August 29, 2012, 07:53:24 AM):
My youngest has to select his subjects for the last three school years. Last night an information evening was held at the school. I was pleasantly surprised that they stopped "bundling" the subjects which was the fate that befell my eldest and that the kids now can choose any combination across the offered subjects.

My lad has decided on Maths, IT, Physical sciences and are chewing on his fourth elective subject. He's keen to go into the IT industry, but keeping his options open with the sciences and considering the Graphic Design as a possible engineering field.

I was, however, a bit disgusted at the fact that they have put in minimum qualifications on some of the subjects, e.g.

Maths - minimum average of 50% - alternatively you must take Literacy instead
IT - minimum average of 60% for Maths
Accounting - mimumum of 50% for Maths
Physical science - ditto above
Life Sciences - ditto above
Graphic design - ditto above

The reason I'm disgusted is not that I feel they are unreasonable to ensure that kids will actually be able to make the grade in Matric, but that the class average for the Grade 9's for Maths sits at 38%.... Which, translated, means that only the top 5 - 10% kids will be able to continue with Maths, IT, Accounting and other related subjects, this seriously impairs the kids opportunities for tertiary studies. Consider this, my son is fifth in class for Maths, and his last mark was a measly 58%.

Now, to me, a 38% class average suggests that its not the kids screwing up their studies but rather a teacher that is either not qualified in the subject or not qualified to teach a group of unruly 15/16 year olds.

BoogieMonster (August 29, 2012, 09:57:19 AM):
He's keen to go into the IT industry, but keeping his options open with the sciences and considering the Graphic Design as a possible engineering field...

Has he ever considered architecture? Saying because I considered it and my bro is actually one. It pulls together arts, engineering, and these days lots of computer skills. Also the good ones drive around in supercars. If so, Technical Drawing might be something to consider.

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... only the top 5 - 10% kids will be able to continue with Maths, IT, Accounting and other related subjects, this seriously impairs the kids opportunities for tertiary studies.

Varsities are already a bit peeved that they have to re-educate freshmen every year. Recently saw a docu with a dean at a SA varsity explaining that matrics these days can barely READ, much less do math.... Our education system is a mess.


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.... my son is fifth in class for Maths, and his last mark was a measly 58%

Now, to me, a 38% class average suggests that its not the kids screwing up their studies but rather a teacher that is either not qualified in the subject or not qualified to teach a group of unruly 15/16 year olds.


I did horribly at math in std 6, I was mortified. But the next year: new teacher and within WEEKS I was scoring in the 90's. The teacher can make or break a maths class. I got Ms. Std6 again a couple of years later, and vowed to teach myself math from the textbook rather than listen to her. Sure enough, that year I realised this teacher made frequent errors when explaining things, and I had to correct her daily. Boy did that make me feel better about the whole std.6 experience.

Luckily it got so bad that parents petitioned we be put back with Ms.Std7. And so it was, and we did great.
beLIEf (August 29, 2012, 12:25:00 PM):

Now, to me, a 38% class average suggests that its not the kids screwing up their studies but rather a teacher that is either not qualified in the subject or not qualified to teach a group of unruly 15/16 year olds.


I'm surprised there's been no intervention from the HOD or principal as usually such low marks would be addressed and the fault would be with the teacher. There was a phase of very low marks at my current school in the maths dept and parents were quick to complain there was a juggling of the teachers and there was an improvement. I'd point out your remark about only top 10% would be able to do maths because whoever's teaching maths lit will certainly want something done about it otherwise they'll have a huge class!

Unfortunately from what I've seen - same as with politics - the school leader's rhetoric and actions rarely correlate :(
brianvds (August 29, 2012, 13:55:34 PM):
The reason I'm disgusted is not that I feel they are unreasonable to ensure that kids will actually be able to make the grade in Matric, but that the class average for the Grade 9's for Maths sits at 38%.... Which, translated, means that only the top 5 - 10% kids will be able to continue with Maths, IT, Accounting and other related subjects, this seriously impairs the kids opportunities for tertiary studies.

No, it only limits opportunities for studying particular subjects at universities. There's plenty more to tertiary study than becoming an engineer or a doctor.

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Now, to me, a 38% class average suggests that its not the kids screwing up their studies but rather a teacher that is either not qualified in the subject or not qualified to teach a group of unruly 15/16 year olds.

Teachers' hands are chopped off. The government has more or less abolished discipline in schools, and very few parents nowadays teach their kids any manners. In the meantime everyone insists on dragging kids who are not in the least interested through academically oriented school careers.

The result is inevitably classes that are so unruly that the very few who actually want to learn cannot do so.

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