Everything is not lost with Maths Literacy

Annette Willemse -- Thu, 06/04/2015 - 17:21

Everything is not lost with Maths Literacy

Mathematical Literacy does not have to mean the end of the road. Gone are the days when it was stigmatised as “dumbing down” the educational system while offering false promises to learners wanting to apply for specific courses such as Accounting and Engineering at a tertiary level.

This is according to Prof Linda du Plessis, Vice-Rector on the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University (NWU Vaal).

At the Vaal Triangle Campus, a series of extended degree programmes offer learners – with Mathematical Literacy as a subject, the opportunity to study towards degrees such as Accounting (general), Financial Accounting, Economics and International Trade, Marketing Management and Economics and Risk Management. In short: BCom degree programmes that they would otherwise not have had access to due to the Mathematics Literacy subject choice. 

Five years after the introduction of the extended degree programmes on the Campus, the success of the intervention remains unrivalled. Extended programmes are just as they sound; instead of being a three-year course of their original module; the extended programmes are full-time four year courses. What makes them different is the extra classes in certain fields of the modules to help the students understand what is needed, and to help increase their chances of better grades and subsequently future career success.  In essence the first year of study is viewed as a foundation year in which the students are brought up to par with their peers in the mainstream degree programmes. The following extended degree programmes are currently offered within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology:

School of Economic Sciences

  • BCom: Economics and International Trade
  • BCom: Economics and Risk Management
  • BCom: Marketing Management

School of Accounting Sciences

  • BCom Chartered Accountancy
  • BCom Accountancy (general) 
  • BCom Financial Accountancy

School of Information Technology

  • BSc Financial Mathematics
  • BSc Quantitative Risk Management
  • BSc Business Analytics
  • BSc Information Technology

These programmes cater for students who do not meet all the faculty specific requirements - especially with regards to pure Mathematics and/ Mathematical Literacy. The extended degree programmes within the School of Information Technology as well as the extended degree programme in Chartered Accountancy, for example, is not accessable for students with Mathematical Literacy. The rest of the extended degree programme repertoire can be accessed by students with Mathematical Literacy. 

According to Prof Linda du Plessis, the value of the extended degree programmes is evident when one considers the growth of these programmes over the past five years. In terms of the extended degree programmes in Information Technology (BSc) a growth of 176.6% is evident while an increase of 953.4% is reflected within the extended degree programmes in Economic Sciences (BCom). The extended degree in Chartered Accountancy (BCom CA) also reflects a growth of 466.7%

“It is very clear that the extended degree programmes are contributing in terms of access to higher education, and the continued growth in these programmes reflects the efforts put in by the Vaal Triangle Campus to address the critical skills shortage in South Africa” says Prof Du Plessis.

For more information about the extended degree programmes, please contact Naledi Hlabahlaba at 016 910 3238 or send her an e-mail on naledi.hlabahlaba@nwu.ac.za  You can also visit the First Years 2016 Facebook page.