Declining pass rates in Grade 12 accounting and mathematics has led to an extension of the annual Accounting and Mathematics Revision Programme run by the College of Law and Management Studies in partnership with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA).

The programme, which usually takes place during the mid-year school holidays on the Westville campus, started on the first Saturday in March with classes continuing on Saturdays until October 19. Partner institutions on the programme felt increasing tuition hours would empower learners and address the challenge of declining pass rates.

Two hundred learners from Durban and surrounding areas have been selected to participate in this initiative aimed at preparing learners to achieve better pass rates in accounting and mathematics so that they meet university admissions criteria in the field of accounting.

Learners from disadvantaged backgrounds keen to enter the accounting profession, with the potential to succeed at university, benefit from the additional lessons. 

Mr Xolela Sohuma, Project Manager: Transformation and Growth at SAICA  said: ‘Beyond just capacitating, educating and empowering learners for academic excellence and about opportunities available, one of  SAICA’s strategic objectives is to transform and grow the profession. One may call this initiative growing your own timber, with an objective to encourage and capacitate the learners with a sound education that will assist them in meeting the academic requirements to enter into a degree programme at university level.’

Sohuma said the ultimate object of the programme was to increase the number of Black and Coloured learners choosing the chartered accountancy profession as a career.

According to Sohuma, this programme is in essence an example of educational empowerment that offers more than just academic support.  Learners receive an holistic opportunity that includes life skills, bursary opportunities and motivational talks by professionals in the accounting field and UKZN academics.

‘We are very fortunate to have the support of UKZN, the Department of Education and AMESA in offering these academic support classes and through their assistance, SAICA has selected the top educators in the province to facilitate these lessons. It must also be noted that UKZN lecturers will undertake some of the academic lessons,’ said Sohuma.

Professor Philip Stegen, Co-ordinator of Accounting Programmes in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance, said the programme contributed positively towards improving grades achieved by learners.

‘SAICA and in particular the SAICA Eastern Region have been very proactive and supportive of UKZN and the local community by sponsoring and assisting with the Maths and Accounting Revision Programme. As a University we are facing huge challenges attracting students who meet the minimum entry requirements because of the standards set for admission into the BCom Accounting degree,’ said Stegen.

Mr Sbu Khanyile, the Vice-President of AMESA indicated that the current problems Grade 12 learners experienced in mathematics stemmed from them not fully grasping what they’ve learned in earlier grades.  According to Khanyile, the discipline of mathematics is a step-by-step process where learners have to re-visit learning areas taught in their formative years as they enter higher grades.

Khanyile indicated that another problem area evident was that not all participating learners understood what was being taught. Therefore, peer tutoring had been introduced where learners were divided into groups of six, with those who excel assisting weaker learners improve their performance.

One of the learners benefiting from the Programme, Miss Neliswa Mayisela of Millpark High School in Montclair who has struggled with mathematics and accounting in past years, said: ‘The tuition is good. By the end of year I will do well in the examinations.’

Mayisela said what she learns in school was more basic than the tuition she received at the Saturday classes and she would be better prepared for the National Senior Certificate Examinations in October.

Another learner, Mr Siphesihle Mkhize of Pinetown Boys’ High School who achieves an average of between 60 to 70 percent in mathematics and accounting, also praised the programme.

The aspirant BCom Accounting student enjoys the different approaches the tuition teaches him in mathematics problem-solving, saying he thought the peer tutoring programme was a good idea because the high achieving and weaker learners assisted each other identify problem areas.

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