Education department wants to drop compulsory maths for accounting pupils


The department has gazetted the proposed change to the Schools Act for public comment.

Anyone interested in the potential change can send comments to the department by August 4.

Department of Education spokesman Troy Martens said feedback from parents‚ teachers and pupils revealed that many pupils who do not want to study pure maths still have an interest in accounting.

“In a number of engagements with teachers and parents‚ [they said] learners don’t want to take pure maths‚ but still want to take accounting.”

The restriction stopping pupils who study maths literacy from choosing accounting as a matric subject is “stifling the opportunities of learners”‚ said Martens.

She explained that there were professions in administration‚ marketing and bookkeeping that used accounting but do not require advanced maths skills.

Martens said that if pupils wanted to study a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting or do degrees in finance and taxation‚ they would still need to study maths.

The proposal does not change university entry requirements for business and chartered accounting degrees.

Before the curriculum changed in 2011‚ learners could choose accounting as a matric subject without studying maths.

Basil Manuel‚ executive director of union Naptosa‚ said: “The practical implications [of this rule] have forced the department to make this adjustment.”

He said thousands of accounting students were dropping maths in grade 11 switching to maths literacy‚ because they couldn’t cope. However‚ the pupils didn’t need to stop accounting halfway through grade 11.

In the end the accounting students were breaking the rules of the subject pairing by dropping maths and the department was looking the other way.

He also said maths was not necessary for accounting: “Accounting at school is simply a stepping stone to using an electronic accounting system later on. You don’t need to be a maths boffin.”

“Later on in life you can become a bookkeeper‚ without knowing maths.”

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