Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Addressing National Mathematics Skills Gap by Establishing Mathematics Teaching and Training Ventures in South Africa
Mahlogonolo Mashile, Dr Pius Oba

This business venture proposal presents an idea that seeks to scale up an existing entrepreneurial idea that provides mathematics tutoring services, and proposes the establishment of mathematics teaching and training institutes in South Africa. The business falls under the private tutor industry, which has a growing market size and an opportunity for the business to gain a significant share. The services offered will be mathematics teaching to high school students and training to both existing and new mathematics teachers (those who are entering the field of education). The project initially reviews literature to gain deep knowledge and understanding of the challenges experienced in the mathematics education of South Africa, and to acquire enabling data for managing a business of this nature. South Africa produces poor mathematics results annually, which is very concerning for multiple stakeholders that depend on good performance in the subject. The government has used several strategies aimed at improving mathematics results in South Africa, but there has not been any improvement realized. This is very concerning for a country whose future depends on the success in technical subjects like mathematics. Studies conducted on mathematics performance indicated that South African students and teachers perform very poorly when compared to their peers in other countries (McCarthy & Oliphant, 2013). This project used the qualitative research method to gather data from the field to assist in understanding the market, its appetite and opportunities available. Data was collected from three provinces in South Africa: Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. The results showed a low pass rates in mathematics, particularly in schools in lower quintiles, which constitute the highest number of schools and students in the country. Lower quintile areas are an untapped market because most mathematics tutoring services are based in big cities where the affordability is higher. The business will have partnerships with organizations that have corporate social responsibility to serve this market, while also serving the high-income market that pays tuition fees. The results from the survey conducted indicated an acknowledged gap in mathematics teaching. Most respondents noted that their students perform poorly in the subject, which they attributed to lack of student commitment and lack of workshops addressing challenging topics, among others. Over 92% of the respondents recommended consistent training for mathematics teachers. Several marketing strategies will be employed to introduce the mathematics services to our target market, grow the market share, and increase the brand awareness. These include advertising on social media platforms, billboards, and promotions. The business plans to establish institutions in Gauteng and Mpumalanga in the initial stages, and work towards increasing enrolments year on year. The business is expected to make a net profit of R2.6million in year one, R5.8million in year two and R7.5million in year three. The business will be expanding into other provinces after the initial three years and work towards establishing mathematics, science and technology institutions in the future.

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