Education research: Maths in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, part 2

29 October 2015

We’ve identified Diepsloot and the eight high schools in its two wards. Thanks to Wazimap we’ve got a pretty good picture of Diepsloot. (The original stats are from the 2011 Census. I’ve done a quick projection of the population figures for 2015.)

– There are about 150 000 people living in Diepsloot (50 000 in Ward 95 and 100 000 in Ward 113)

– About 1 per cent of the population (1 500 people) are 18 years old

– The potential number of matriculants could be anywhere from 1 500 people and more, if older, repeating students are included. (We’ll see that the actual number of matriculants in 2014 was far lower than 1 500.

Here’s the map of the Diepsloot with the eight schools labeled:

Diepsloot and its eight high schools

Diepsloot and its eight high schools

The table below gives the official 2014 results per school. It includes the number of students that entered matric, wrote matric, and passed matric:

Diepsloot 2014 matric results

Diepsloot 2014 matric results

Only 401 students  entered the matric exams and only 311 passed. A pass requires that a student score 40 per cent or more for three of her seven subjects (one of which must be her home language) and 30 per cent or more for another three subjects. She is allowed to score 0 per cent for her seventh subject.

We need to dig a bit deeper into the numbers if we want to see which students are passing well enough to make it in tertiary education. It’s already a concern that only about 300 students are passing matric, or about 20 per cent of the estimated number of 18 year olds in Diepsloot.

Before we do, you might have noticed that we’ve got eight schools on the map but only six schools in the table. Two schools (Diepsloot Secondary School and Diepsloot West Secondary School) do not write matric at their own campuses but used other public schools in the area as their testing stations. The three public schools in the table were the testing stations for all five public schools.

The numbers show that about three quarters of registered matriculants were in the public school system and one quarter went to independent schools in the area. The overall matric pass rate in the independent schools was almost five percentage points higher than the pass rate in public schools (83,2 per cent to 78,4 per cent).

We still don’t know what proportion of students in Diepsloot will do well enough in matric to qualify for university. It’s a very topical question that we’re trying to answer.

At the time of writing, students across South Africa’s universities and technical colleges have been protesting for more than two weeks against the rising cost of tertiary education. There seems to be a general consensus that there is a crisis in tertiary education and that many poor students are unable to access higher education.

There have been a few good bits of analysis on the affordability of free education (or zero-cost education for the libertarians among us). Here’s one by the SAIRR that I found interesting. It puts the total cost of free education at R96 billion and the current funding shortfall at R75 billion.

We’re going to go one step back in the education story and look at the potential supply of matriculants who stand a good chance of succeeding at university. For now we’re only looking at the trends in Diepsloot but eventually we’ll be able to look at the whole country.

We’ll be able to fill in some more pieces of the education puzzle and hopefully answer questions

– What percentage of matriculants are passing their home languages, Mathematics and Physical Science with 70 per cent or more (which we’ll use as a benchmark for university eligibility)?

– What could be the potential increase in the supply of students for university education if matric results could be improved?

– What cost implications could this have for the funding of tertiary education?

In the next blog post we’ll look at detailed results for Mathematics in the Diepsloot school system.





3 thoughts on “Education research: Maths in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, part 2

  1. Pingback: [MAP MONDAY] The state of maths education in Diepsloot visualised -

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