Making Maths Make Sense

100% Matric Pass-rate. Top 20% Maths Nationally.

It is with great pride that OLICO announces a 100% matric pass-rate (83% Bachelor Level passes) with our learners achieving in the top 20% maths results nationally.

In 2012, OLICO began working with a group of Grade 8 learners in Diepsloot who have now graduated as members of our first-ever matric cohort of 2016. The matric class in Diepsloot is part of a larger group of 145 learners between Grades 7-12 who receive extra maths and literacy support twice a week. On first enrolment, our 2016 matric class had a mathematics average of just 18%. The latest matric results show that OLICO learners have dramatically increased their maths marks with 83% achieving marks of above 50% in pure mathematics which puts them into the top 20% maths achievers across South Africa. These improvements are the result of intensive work on foundational number skills and supplementary curriculum support with OLICO’s freely available online maths tool and tailored tutoring support.

2017-01-09-photo-00000008OLICO learner, Patience Moyo believes OLICO made a huge difference to her maths results, “When I first joined OLICO, my maths was poor but by practicing with OLICO’s support, my results have really improved. I want to start a new life at university and graduate as a psychologist to help people and be an example of what success is to my community.”

OLICO’s Maths Coordinator, Dr Lynn Bowie adds, “Over the past 5 years, these learners have worked tirelessly to improve their maths skills and deserve all the credit they’re now receiving. In short, their commitment and dedication has been outstanding and they are reaping the rewards. For many learners, the time and support available in school hours is simply not sufficient to cover all that needs to be covered so OLICO’s after-school support and blended use of technology is one way in which we can supplement the work of the teacher.”

Likewise, her classmates Roda Chitegha and Christine Ngwenya believe OLICO has helped them unlock their potential and achieve her goals. Says Roda, “Coming to OLICO in the afternoons since Grade 8 has helped to keep myself away from trouble and temptation that faces the youth of Diepsloot. OLICO has helped ensure my results at school are always good and I can go to university. I have registered for a BSC but this is not my only dream, I also want to see myself as a role model to others that matric success in maths is indeed possible.”


OLICO’s Thandiswa Nxelle (middle) with matric learners Christine Ngwenya and Roda Chitegha

No Short-cuts to improving Maths Results.

There is no short-cut, quick-fix or silver bullet to improving South African maths results but there are clear indications that intensive multi-year support in an after-school setting can achieve substantial improvements. At OLICO, we use a custom-built online maths programme ( with our Grade 7-9 learners alongside skilled maths tutors to supplement learning. This online maths tool is published under a creative commons licence and contains over 20,000+ unique interactive maths questions and 330 tutorial videos specifically tailored for South African senior phase maths. The belief is that establishing firm foundations and good number sense is essential for future maths success.

The South African Maths challenge

Some excellent articles on the maths situation in South Africa:

Nicky Roberts:

Paul Berkowitz: 

Nic Spaull: 

Beyond Diepsloot

In addition to the 145 Grade 7-12 learners in Diepsloot,  OLICO is also working in 8 schools in the Western Cape on the Year Beyond programme and has over 2000 learners enrolled on the FREE online maths program for Grades 7-9 at

With grateful thank to our supporters:

OLICO is deeply grateful to our donor partners who have helped make this happen. including: The Datatec Education and Technology Trust, The Learning Trust, Hatch, The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Claude Leon Foundation and, most recently, the Nedbank Private Wealth Educational Foundation.

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