Can we afford to wait any longer?: pre-school children are ready to learn mathematics
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South African students' poor mathematics performance on national and international tests can be attributed to the gap the children begin schooling with from different socio economics homes. Wright et al assert that this gap continues to grow the longer students are in school. Early childhood research highlights the significant educational gains of exposing young children to quality, structured mathematical play or activity that goes beyond what is learned within the family and community. South Africa has high levels of poverty and inequality and also has tremendous difficulties in overcoming these inequalities. Most provision of quality pre-school education is private, self-funded and not targeted to poor children resulting to different levels of mathematics readiness prior entry to primary school. This paper argues for quality mathematics interventions, longitudinal studies on impact of such interventions and
tracking studies on schooling effects of early quality mathematics preparation, higher education effects, and labour market effects.