-The South African Times-

by Maddie, Will, Anissa, Reed & Addison

South African Math Skills Dangerously Lagging

Numbers given by the South African government show the low exam rates of graduate students in the subjects of math and science. The World Economic Forum even ranked the country last in math skills globally. The education department released that in 2013, only 3 out of 5 students scored with a 50 percent or higher in math.

There are many reasons why South Africa's math skills are plummeting. University of Johannesburg professor, Elizabeth Henning states one big reason is the lack of training to teachers. It becomes a cycle where weak math teachers teach their kids at a poor level who then also grow up to teach the next generation low skills and so on. This lack of knowledge leads to bigger problems in South Africa like water management, engineering, medicine, and production which all require math education. “Here’s my mantra: matric begins in Grade One. It begins in Grade One, so what you are finding at the end of matric is just an end product of what began in Grade One,” says Henning.

While fixing a problem like this could take many ideas and years, a huge solution to this problem could be the government putting more of an emphasis on education in math. By bringing in more interest from parents and a higher training program will increase math skills for students in the next 10 to 15 years.

“I can go on and on and on.… You name it. We need scientists, we need kids, - even if they don’t become scientific at all - who have a scientific view of life," Henning says. "Kids who can manage their immediate world because they have a scientific view of life".

By Anissa Ashraf

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Everything You Need to Know About the New Land Reform Bill

Just last week South Africa's National Constitutional Assembly passed the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill. The bill ultimately prohibits foreign ownership of land- meaning people who are not native South African’s are unable to own land within South Africa. As of now, foreigners own an estimated five to seven percent of the land in South Africa. Now, they will only be able to lease property for a period of thirty to fifty years, and might be asked to state their reasoning. This bill was aimed to speed up the land reform program, which has caused a great amount of controversy within South Africa over the years. On top of that, the bill was also aimed at ensuring food security among the people, and addressing the issues having to do with inequality. A statement from President Zuma’s office claims that white South Africans who hold ten percent of the South African population own eighty percent of the land in South Africa today- twenty years after the end of the apartheid.

Along with the restriction of foreigners owning land, the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill will restrict all native South Africans to owning land over 12,00 hectares (29,653 acres). The land is to be classified in particular categories. Some include “environmentally and security sensitive land”, “historic and cultural significance” and “strategic lands” which will be used for development. Foreign ownership will also be prohibited in these areas. President Zuma spoke out about the bill earlier this week, and is expected to again within the following month.

By Maddie Hazzard

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Global Economy Continues to Decline

While the global economy declined South Africa kept chugging on. Because of their well regulated fiscal policies and abundant amounts of resources and knowledge this has kept them on their feet. Also because of its impressive progressive framework they have huge promise in future economic details. Because of this they efficiently distribute resources throughout the region. South Africa is very confident about their financial affairs when the rest of the world is having second thoughts. The country had 62 quarters of economic rise with an eventual result of a 5.1% increase of GDP. They heavily depend on European exports and underground mining for a majority of their income. This has allowed the South African government to double their spending in comparison from 2003. Although the country has a 25% unemployment rate South Africa has launched the New Growth Plan in 2010 to create 5 million more jobs by 2020. The country also plans to have a more equal and inclusive economy for easier access to jobs. The president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is also trying to slow down the country's greenhouse gas emission by a considerable amount in the upcoming years.

South Africa has been deemed a low risk high reward country for investments. One investor of the country sends more than 25% of manufactured products into the country. This is a strategy to increase commercial activity and attract foreign capital. The country trades to other countries such as China, the United States, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Machinery and metals are chief exports. This being shows how South Africa is a strong and powerful country.

By Will Newhouse

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Japanese Author Provokes Furious South African Response

South Africans have reacted with fury towards a newspaper article which suggested that apartheid should be a model for Japan. The article was written by Ayako Sono who was an education advisor to Japan’s government. In the article she argues that Japan needs to allow more foreigners to come into the country to increase the population and to help take care of the elderly, but she says that they should live separately from the rest of the Japanese population. She claims that in South Africa, areas where previously only white south africans had lived black south africans had ruined it and the same would happen to Japan if immigrants were allowed to live where they choose.

Many people are furious with her article. South Africa's ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko, wrote a letter to the newspaper talking about how Ayako Sono’s article was "shameful and extravagant", and "tolerated and glorified apartheid". He also stated that apartheid was a crime against humanity that could never be justified in the 21st century in any country. The Japanese government stated that Ms.Sono had been an advisor a long time ago and no longer was working for them.

People living in Japan are also outraged by the article. "So while the rest of the civilised world was condemning apartheid, Sono decided that she rather liked it, and now wants to bring it back," wrote a blogger on the Japan Times website. "And she is a government appointment on an education panel?"

By Reed Kenny

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"White" Government?

The government of South Africa during the era of apartheid was one of total disenfranchisement for those who were not considered by the government to be “white”. This extended as far as the removal of citizenship from black residents. the government consisted of a parliament and a president, more like a prime minister in that he is appointed by the parliament. The president the appointed other parliament members to be ministers of other departments.

By Addison Guynn

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