The 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Information Technology Report has ranked South Africa’s maths and science education quality as the worst in the world.

Furthermore, the overall perceived quality of our education system has also plummeted from 140 to 146 of 148 countries surveyed, says Annette Lovemore, the DA’s shadow minister of basic education.

“It is of also of great concern that Internet Access in our schools has slipped down by five slots to 116 of 148,” she adds.

“I will write to Chairperson of the Basic Education portfolio committee, requesting that this issue be prioritised and that the Minister be summoned to Parliament to account for what appears to be the worsening state of our education system immediately.”

Lovemore points out that, last year the ministerial task team established to investigate the progress of teaching programmes in maths, science and technology across South Africa released a damning report that exposed gaping holes at every level of our education system.

It was to focus particularly on the following points, she says:

* The national strategy is out of date.
* There is a shortage of qualified teachers.
* The curriculum changes over the past decade have negatively affected teaching.
* Universities are not training teachers adequately.
* District offices are largely not capable of providing adequate support to teachers.

“Furthermore, a reply to a subsequent DA parliamentary question revealed that the Department of Basic Education does not know the full extent of the shortages of Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) teachers,” says Lovemore.

“The reality is that Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has not done enough to address the maths, science and technology crisis. She has instead relied on 2001’s out-dated MST Strategy.

“The WEF ranking does not reflect the ability of South Africa’s learners, but an education system that needs urgent intervention.

“With targeted interventions in maths and science, we can turn the situation around.”