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July Newsletter 2013
Original Mathematics Initiative is pleased to share our first monthly newsletter.
We began with the idea to help South African students develop and improve upon their skills in mathematics. Having taught mathematics for over 20 years at the time of our conception, our desire was to tackle the fundamental problems that plague our youth in this subject.
To this aim, we decided to begin with Grades 8 and 9 in terms of an after school enrichment programme (program). Secondary school (high school) begins in Grade 8 in South Africa.
Grade 8 teachers discover fundamental issues, learning barriers, and carelessness in their students across the race, class, a colour line that were learned in primary school (elementary school).
These problems are exacerbated in classes comprised of 60 or more learners. Teachers are challenged with not only finishing the syllabus but also with ensuring that their learners (students) ascertain a level of proficiency on the specific topic, prior to moving on to the next topic.
Many children get lost is the shuffle as they are either too afraid to ask questions (if time permits), are “mathophobic” or believe they are simply “slow”, mathematics is too difficult, and they will never be able to learn such a challenging subject.
Original Mathematics was founded with the aim of removing all obstacles from the path of the learner. Our approach is to both empower the learner with improved self-esteem and provide the necessary skills training to augment the efforts of their classroom teachers. Improved effort with respect to home work is an added bonus.
If you are receiving this newsletter (via e-mail), it is because your invaluable financial contribution via a donation, the purchase of a banquet ticket, or the sponsorship of a child which enabled us to have phenomenal results in 2012. These results have been magnified this year (2013).
In October of 2012, we hosted a banquet in Pretoria, South Africa (Laudium) and raised money for scientific calculators. Although our goal was 300 calculators, due in part to your generosity, we were able to purchase 450 calculators for needy students. However, only 423 were distributed to youth impacted by our work.
We had an improvement of 135% with respect to Grade 9 and 95% with respect to Grade 8 in 2012 and 70% of our learners passed mathematics for the year, which is unprecedented in these particular schools.
In 2013, we continue to teach Grades 8 and 9 daily (except Friday). Our Grade 9 learners from last year have moved forward to Grade 10 and most have chosen Mathematics over Mathematical Literacy.
Three of our classes are one symbol (10%) ahead of the other classes in terms of average mark (grade) in spite of the fact that we see each class for only 4 times per month (3-4hours) due to time constraints. We have also adopted a Grade 12 class to better prepare them for year-end exams at one school.
Moreover, we have secured 150 scientific calculators that will be distributed 15 July, God willing, to our new Grade 8 learners, also thanks to donations from good people like you.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE AS A DIRECT RESULT OF YOUR HELP AND PRAYERS.
We thank God for each of you!
Kahlil Malik Muhammad
Director of Original Mathematics Initiative
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