Maths matters on International Day of the Girl

On International Day of the Girl the JumpStart team hopes to inspire little girls to fall in love with mathematics. Counting songs, finger games, one-on-one attention and our innovative NumberSense programme are all part of the solution. We aim to ensure that girls stay in school, complete their education and are empowered to go on to careers in STEM.

The World Bank acknowledges the importance of ensuring that girls learn and feel safe while in school. They identify several barriers to girls’ access to and completion of education, notably poverty and limitations in teacher training. JumpStart is working to be part of the solution that ensures young girls are able to complete their education. We’re upskilling teachers and tutors with additional training. By placing unemployed youth as tutors in primary school classrooms we increase the quality of education learners receive.

World bank research shows that countries are losing between $15 trillion and $30 trillion in lost lifetime productivity and earnings because girls are not completing 12 years of schooling. On average, women with secondary education are more likely to work. Additionally, they earn almost twice as much as those with no education. By keeping girls in school, we create better opportunities for their contribution to society. This happens in ways they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Education in crisis

Matthew Sterne notes in the Mail & Guardian earlier this month that the true state of South Africa’s schools is a cause for concern with 78% of Grade 4 learners unable to read for meaning. When the results of the international TIMSS study of 2019 came out last December, we saw that a staggering 63% of Grade 5 learners lack basic maths comprehension.

The JumpStart Foundation is expanding its operation, with new programmes commencing in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga. As an organisation we are committed to addressing specifically maths poverty, which affects at least two-thirds of the 1.2 million children who start Grade 1 in South Africa annually.

Our hopes for the future

Based on future system-wide change, our innovation has the potential to impact:

1.) Over 2 million Grade 1-3 learners (6-10 years old, 49% girls) from low income black households per annum, who acquire full numeracy by the time they start Grade 4. They continue to benefit as they progress through their schooling careers based on a solid maths foundation.

2.) 100,500 Grade 1-3 teachers (majority black female) employed annually in no fee paying schools, who acquire new knowledge & pedagogy and are empowered by an improved classroom environment. This impact endures for generations of learners.

3.) Government has access to new evidence and impetus to reform policy concerning how maths is taught.

This innovation can potentially reach millions of girls and female teachers based on replication in new geographies in Africa and elsewhere. 

Girls in STEM

Our robotics and coding programme is flying the flag for girls in STEM fields. The programme helps prepare young  girls with skills that will set them up for future involvement in STEM. While bigger issues might limit girls’ involvement, we’re determined to enable them to participate in these exciting industries.

Support a girl, support a female tutor

JumpStart welcomes partners who are keen to support South African girls. Your support qualifies you for a SARS Section 18(a) certificate. Please email Betty Oliphant for further information.

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