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Shocking results from the Annual National Assessments written in 2011

In February last year 9 million pupils from grades 2 to 10 across all nine provinces of South Africa sat for the Annual National  Assessments, tests that gauged their ability to write, read and count.

The results were dismal.

The overall average score was 30 percent, with even lower results in maths and languages across all grades.

A qualitative analysis of the results showed the following:

  • Pupils in grades 1 to 3 performed better, but scores were much lower from grades 4 to 6
  • 21 % of the Grade 3s showed competence in comprehension, that is the ability to understand written text
  • 25 % of Grade 3s showed competence to apply basic numeracy skills to solve everyday problems
  • 49% of the Grade 4s could comprehend what they were reading
  • 8 % of the Grade 4s could change sentences given in past tense to present tense (language usage)
  • 20 % of Grade 5s could correctly convert sentences in the past to the present tense (language usage)
  • 12 % of Grade 4s could respond to simple questions about a story and give reasons that support their answer (thinking and reasoning)
  • 11 % of Grade 5s could answer simple questions and respond to emotions from a story (thinking and reasoning)
  • 23 % of Grade 6s could understand what was happening in the story they were reading (reading and viewing)
  • 5 % were able to write an introduction and conclusion when writing a text
  • the percentage of Grade 6s competent in patterns, functions and algebra ranged from 9 to 45 percent (mathematics)

To read more go to Nontobeko Mtshali’s article on IOL News, by Clicking Here!

To go to the Report on qualitative analysis of ANA 2011 results Click Here! 

 

Education in crisis – FW de Klerk Foundation

Education in South Africa is in serious traouble, the FW de Klerk foundation said recently.

“Poor education lies at the root of most of South Africa’s problems, including unemployment, poverty and inequality”, it said in a statement.

The recent Limpopo textbook scandal was simply a sympton of much wider malaise. The crisis was also not because of a lack of resources. In 2011 the country spent 6 % of its gross domestic product on education.

The education system is failing to achieve basic standards of literacy and numeracy in grades three and six. This can be seen in the ranking of South Africa’s education system by the World Economic Forum as 133rd out of 142 countries.

To read more go to the SAPA article on News24 by Clicking Here!

Metcalfe Report on Verification of Textbook Deliveries in Limpopo, released

The investigation team, led by former higher education director general Mary Metcalfe, aimed at verifying how many textbooks Limpopo schools have received, were unable to make an accurate assessment of how many books have reached schools as yet.

The team measured deliveries at 10% of the province’s 4 000 schools under the watchful eye of unions, the Congress of South African Students, school governing body associations and the South African Principals’ Association.

Although the team could not complete a full audit of deliveries it did present some “very concerning” findings.

The team found that as of July 3 “only 48% of the books had been delivered to the schools, with 52% of the books still sitting in the district warehouse”, despite claims by the government Department of Basic Education, at a joint briefing with Section 27 on June 28, that approximately 98% of textbooks had been delivered to schools.

To read more go to Victoria John’s article in the Mail & Guardian by Clicking Here!

To download the Metcalfe Report Click Here!

Reaction to 2011 Matric results

Reaction to South Africa’s 2011 matric results have been varied. The 70.2 % national senior certificate pass rate was welcomed by government and some analysts. This positive response was understandable given that it is the first time since 2004 that more than 70 % of students passed.

However many analysts sketched a different picture. The total number of matric candidates dropped from 537 543 in 2010 to 496 090 in 2011. This means a drop of 8% or 41 453 students. Another statistic analysts pointed out is that of the 923 463 students that started grade 1 in the year 2000, only 496090 sat for the matric exams in 2011, which means the “true pass rate” is actually 38 %.

Afriforum pinned the problem on the lack of mother-tongue education, while Jonathan Clarke told the Mail & Guardian that there is anecdotal evidence that schools are rushing low achieving students through lower grades and then hold them back in Grade 10 or 11. Other analysts criticised the low level at which matric can be passed. To pass matric students had to achieve 40 % in their home language, 40 % in two other subjects and 30% in three subjects.

To read more go to Greg Nicolson’s article on DailyMaverick by Clicking Here!

To read Michelle Jones’ article in the Cape Times Click Here!

 To read Jonathan Jansen’s article on IOL news Click Here!

To read Faranaaz Parker’s article in the Mail & Guardian Click Here!

SA Basic Education Department to follow a more ‘scripted approach’ to teacher development

The South African Department of Basic Education has decided to follow a more “scripted approach” to the development of teachers, Deputy basic Education Minister Enver Surty announced recently. The first annual national assessments (ANA) have provided the department with important information to assist in identifying areas where urgent attention was needed to improve learner’s success levels.

The scripted appoach according to Surty will include:

  • training and support to teachers to help them manage and use efficient methods to teach specific content areas which were identified in the assessments as areas that are particularly challenging to learners. Critical to the success of this new approach will be more targeted, subject specific teacher education and development that will improve teacher content knowledge;
  • strengthening the campaign to attract young people to the teaching profession through the Funza Lushaka Bursary programme;
  • develop performance management contracts with clear performance targets with principals and deputy principals;
  • strengthening the appointment procedures for school principals;
  • strengthening district support for schools

Surty also shared the following resolutions on basic education from the recent government lekgotla:

  • acceleration of the provision of universal basic services such as the eradication of infrastructure backlogs, provision of sporting facilities, and national planning and procurement for provision of infrastructure, textbooks and stationary;
  • improving, monitoring, support and accountability in the schooling system, including mechanisms for improved teacher accountability , and involvement in school improvement activities. 

This posting was based on a Sapa article published on News24 on 23 August 2011.

To read the original Sapa article Click Here!

SA government eyeing free tuition to boost skills shortages

In a recent cabinet lekgotla the South African government agreed on a number of resolutions to address skills shortages. The lekgotla noted the mismatch between the supply and demand of skills for specific educational categories in the light of the unemployment rate that is expanding.

Deputy Basic Education Minister Enver Surty gave feedback from the lekgotla. He stressed that the labour market is plagued by skills shortages that constrains the country’s economic growth potential. Keeping this in mind the lekotla resolved to take action on various key matters including:

  • examining the possibility of covering the full cost of study for (poor) students in scarce skills areas in all years of study; 
  • guarding against downgrading the social science programme provision;
  • supporting post-graduate students through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to develop a new generation of academics in addition to National Research Foundation initiatives;
  • intensifying efforts to promote research and development in higher education institutions;
  • seeing to it that students that have completed their studies pay back their loans so that other students can also be supported;
  • giving urgent attention to the problem of accommodation in the higher education system (only 18.5 % of students are accommodated in university residences)
  • ensuring that all infrastructure programmes are linked to skills training and workplace experiential learning;
  • strengthening and repositioning Public Service Sector Seta (PSeta) to play a more effective role in skills training for public service
  • seeing to it that all government departments pay skills levies, as required by law;
  • expanding the intake of interns into the public service, municipalities and state-owned enterprises; and
  • utilising training within the public service as largest single employer in the country.

This posting was based on a Sapa article published on Fin24 on 23 august. To read the original Sapa article Click Here!

Education departments are failing to deliver basic services to primary schools

A report released by Transparency International (TI) titled “Mapping Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa” shows that provincial education departments in South Africa are failing to deliver solid basic services to primary schools in South Africa.

The report found that schools received their budget allocations late, resulting in schools not having the required means to run their services effectively, and this had particular impact on the poorer non-fee-paying schools.

The report also showed that there was poor enforcement of rules and regulations by education departments, which led to weaknesses in the effectiveness and legitimacy of their work.

Other issued raised was:

  • concern by schools’ leadership over embezzlement at provincial level
  • low levels of participation, accountability and transparency at school level
  • lack of of participation and support from parents
  • staff absenteeism
  • infrastructure (15 % of schools had no electricity and 10% no water supply; one out of two learners indicated that they are not always provided with a desk)
  • sexual harassment and safety (one out of four learners felt that schools are unsafe and that rape and violence are major problems)
  • lack of knowledge of rules and regulations governing some key transactions at school level

To read the original SAPA article on News24 Click Here!

To read the report “Mapping Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa” , Click Here!