Published March 2022

The Pedagogy of Mathematics in South Africa


The dire state of mathematics education in South Africa is a cause for concern. South Africa falls short in international assessments. Poor performances in maths and science are a legacy of gross racial, gender and spatial inequalities. Much attention has been given to maths education post-apartheid. However, there has been minimal improvement in results.

This means that methods of teaching mathematics require a constructive re-look, particularly those methods engaged at at the basic level of teacher to learner. MISTRA’s 2017 publication on the pedagogy of mathematics in South Africa1 investigated whether there can be a unifying way of teaching maths that would benefit both the learner and the teacher. The research found that suitable pedagogies can be built, based on the varied natural cognitive modes of different learners, which are determined by their language, culture and living environments. The publication provided a number of explicit and implicit ideas as to how the situation can be improved, including developing language and thought; creative use of technology; better teacher development; and developing mathematical identities.