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Learners 'should choose maths for good careers'

"Parents and teachers should encourage their children to study and succeed in mathematics if they want to enter attractive careers like chartered accountancy, engineering or financial services," says Chantyl Mulder, senior executive for professional development, transformation and growth at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica).
Learners 'should choose maths for good careers'

There are too few learners graduating from SA's schools with good marks in mathematics, which is also causing a skills shortage in the financial services sector and the engineering industry.

SA's economy is crying out for the skills based on mathematics, Mulder said this week. "Mathematics is the key to a prosperous and fulfilling future.

"Learners take the easier maths literacy option to achieve a better matric.

"But (this) dramatically reduces their options for further study and employment." Some schools do not encourage learners to choose maths as they believe it will lower their results.

Dire skills shortage in FS sector

A study by executive recruitment firm Landelahni, released last week, showed the dire skills shortage in the financial services sector.

Landelahni CEO Sandra Burmeister said most companies have difficulty recruiting chartered accountants and retaining scarce skills.

More than 80% of auditing firms believed there was a shortage of chartered accountants.

This echoed with Saica's study in 2008, which found a shortage of 17 000 accountants and 5000 chartered accountants.

Numbers rise

The government's recent human resources development strategy also highlighted the need for more financial managers and engineers to grow the economy.

The profession is starting to respond. Saica's 2010 figures show that since 2002 the number of chartered accountants has risen 49% to 31 165, with black chartered accountants up 237% to 5302 and white accountants up 34% to 25 863.

Saica's Thuthuka programme aims to raise the number of black chartered accountants. It starts at grade 8 by encouraging children to take maths and improving teaching.

It continues to university bursaries, and includes full-time social assistance, mentoring and help in finding work and completing practical training.

About 1500 Thuthuka students are enrolled in eight universities.

Source: Business Day



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