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Quiz to test pupils’ numeracy skills

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A total of 100 pupils from each province will take part in the quiz

Picture: Tracey Adams

FLAGGED as having problematic pass marks in numerical literacy, Grade 7 pupils from the Frances Baard and Pixley ka Seme districts of the Northern Cape will this week take part in the first ever South African Institute of Chartered Accountants Quiz.

This Friday is the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and to mark the occasion the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) will put the numerical literacy rate of Grade 7s around the country to the test through its first-ever SAICA Quiz.

SAICA pointed out yesterday that countries with a more skilled workforce in both numerical and reading literacy terms tended to have citizens with higher pay and better employment prospects.

“This, ultimately translates into higher rates of economic growth. Currently, South Africa significantly underperforms in terms of international education standards, particularly when it comes to mathematics and English literacy.

“SAICA, together with the accounting profession, is constantly working to achieve this aim and also to help create a South Africa where every person is equipped to make informed financial decisions.

“As an institute with a vested interest in ensuring that our country has more citizens – especially young adults – who are numerically literate, the Institute runs various school projects aimed at helping to remedy the country’s low numeracy skills.

“Among these projects is the new SAICA Quiz, which targets Grade 7 pupils. Although there are some attractive prizes (such as tablets, calculators, dictionaries, and Sudoku games) available for those who perform best in the quiz, the real winner will be the country,” Gugu Makhanya, SAICA’s Senior Executive: Transformation and Growth,” said yesterday.

Makhanya added that with the quiz, SAICA targeted Grade 7 pupils for two very specific reasons.

“The first reason is linked to recent statistics which revealed that, at 55.9 percent, South Africa’s youth unemployment statistics are the highest they have ever been. Frighteningly, it is widely documented that extremely high youth unemployment levels are closely linked to the quality of schooling – in particular numeracy, literacy and mathematical competency. Yet, over the years international studies have shown that South Africa has the worst educational outcomes in these subjects. Remedying these figures is something SAICA, as a key stakeholder in the South African economy, has made one of its top priorities.

“The second reason is that the SAICA Quiz forms an integral part of our efforts to expand SAICA’s career awareness to include lower grades. The quiz is designed in such a way that school pupils are made to appreciate the importance of numeracy and literacy skills towards studying a career in chartered accountancy. Mathematics and English are key subjects for one to be admitted into a BCom Accounting degree at university,” Makhanya said.

Makhanya added that a total of 100 pupils from each province would participate.