Maths fundi on a mission to better results

Maths boffin Ludwe Baliwe doing with his pupils at Zola Business School.

Zola Business School Maths fundi, Ludwe Baliwe, is on a mission to boost the school’s performance in this year’s National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations.

Over the past couple of years he has been embarking on revision camps with Grade 12 pupils to pay special attention to mathematics, something that has yielded positive results.

And in August, he will once again embark on a revision camps for Grade 12 pupils in preparation for the exams.

Mr Baliwe said the idea is to make maths more meaningful and attractive to pupils.

During the camp pupils will take part in a range of activities, he said. These will include listening to presentations from invited academics and professionals. They will also learn about careers in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Mr Baliwe said more than 50 pupils from Zola and other Khayelitsha schools had shown interest in this year’s camp.

“Since the inception of the initiative we have seen the difference in our results. Between 2009 to 2013, maths results were at 30%. They went up to 42% in 2013 and to 50% the following year,” he said. “The highest number was 2016 where we went up to 72%, but we dropped to 56% in 2017 .”

Mr Baliwe said they wanted to achieve the highest percent this year. “And we will because the pupils and their parents are behind us. Pupils are so dedicated,” he said.

He added that maths skills were essential for children, dismissing the notion that the subject was difficult.

“It needs dedicated people, teachers and pupils. It is worrying that teachers are not supporting this initiative. Every weekend I have a class of about 70 people from my schools and others schools. That is ridiculous to work with such a number. They cannot even fit in one room. But that is a challenge I have to deal with,” he told Vukani.

He called on maths teachers from other schools to work with him. “The initiative provides an opportunity for teachers too to apply their skills. It provides us with new things in the field. So they must come on board,” he said.

Mr Baliwe said they also struggled to attract sponsors for things such as food and venue. “Remember these children are mostly from poor areas, where their parents cannot afford and some live on a grant,” he said.

He said the school received some funds from the Western Cape Education Department as well as Ithemba Labs.

Parent, Nondwe Skade, commended the initiative. She said there was a need for more teachers like Mr Baliwe. “We need such programmes from dedicated teachers like Mr Baliwe. I have not heard that, but you are the first person to tell me about it. All I can say is, he must keep up the good work. He is the kind of teacher we want,” she said