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Action Plan to 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025 / South Africa. Dept. of Basic Education

“During 2010 the Minister  of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, declared that there would be a plan for schools in South Africa called Action Plan to 2014, and that  this would form part of a larger vision called Schooling 2025. It is important that you as a South African should know about the Action Plan, and Schooling 2025, especially if you are a parent or guardian of a learner in a school, if you yourself are a learner, or if you are a teacher or a school principal. The plan is important because it tells you what the government will be doing to make Grades R to 12 schooling better, but also because it explains how you yourself can contribute towards making the goals of the plan and Schooling 2025 a reality.” (Dept of Basic Education, 2013)

I’m posting the Full version, English summary, and the Popular version for you. The originals are available on the website of the Dept. of Basic Education. It is available in 9 languages.

 

School libraries a human right?

The Department of Basic Education was recently accused of having no co-ordinated plans or support for school libraries. This came out in a debate on school libraries held at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA),  and attended by representatives of the education departments, universities, librarians and the organisation Equal Education.

Th issue of school libraries came to the fore when thousands of pupils countrywide protested peacefully for school libraries in March this year.

Equal Education started last year with a national campaign for school libraries because only 7 % of South Africa’s 28 000 schools have functional libaries.

One of the pupils at the Luhlaza Secondary School in Khayelitsha summmarized the feeling most pupils have, when she described school libraries as a basic “right”. Many problems were pointed out, for instance the overcrowding in public libraries, scarcity of books and resources to assist pupils with assignments, excessive travel costs to get to these libraries, and the understaffing of these libraries.

Dr Jennifer Joshua, involved with early childhood development in the Department of Basic Education acknowledged that libraries and information services at schools have huge challenges. According to her the National Treasury made R2 billion available for infrastructure development which includes libraries, laboratories and more classrooms. She also referred to “National Guidelines for Libraries” which will soon be distributed to provinces and districts. These “guidelines” will focus among other things on the obligation to expand services, the training of personnel, the protection of resources and alternative methods of service delivery, for example mobile and classroom libraries.

Education officials from Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal emphasized the problem of communication (they get no feedback or support on the issue of school libraries) from the National Department. Since 1997 there were 5 concept policies on school libraries, but nothing official.

Mr Alan Thomson of the National Teachers Union (Natu) stressed that school libraries will never get of the ground or function effectively if the onus rests on teachers to manage it. Various librarians have shown that to manage a library, is a full time vocation. He suggests that the Department must investigate that possibility to bring these posts back to schools.

Mr Graeme Bloch of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) said a national campaign for school libraries is necessary, and that the government will have to start implementing its plans for it.

The state of school libraries in South Africa is illustrated in the following table:

 

Province

Schools with no library or facilities for a library

Schools with space for a library, but no books

Schools with functional libraries

Gauteng

835

789

366

North West

1399

220

111

Mpumalanga

1595

182

116

Limpopo

3740

198

97

Free State

1262

271

148

Northern Cape

424

104

71

Eastern Cape

5179

378

166

KwaZulu Natal

4677

841

359

Western Cape

697

387

367

This posting was translated from an Afrikaans article by Alet Rademeyer “Skoolbiblioteke is ‘n reg’ in the Printed Beeld Newspaper of 9 April 2009, p.15.

Story writing exhibition at University of Pretoria’s Education Library

As part of Library Week Celebrations the Education Library of the University of Pretoria recently hosted an exhibition of Stories written and compiled by Early Childhood Education students in 2008. These stories were entered in a competition sponsored by Oxford University Press. The stories form part of a Story Reading Project which has run for a number of years as an innovation outcome of the Early Literacy Module in the Early Childhood Education Programme in the Faculty of Education, at University of Pretoria. picture-033

Dr Ina Joubert who heads up this project received an Education

Innovation award in 2006 for this project. The creativity of the students were really amazing and of the highest standard!

 

Sonja Delport and members of the library team at the Education library worked really hard to ensure that the exhibition was a great success.   

 

irma-eloff-2

The exhibition was officially opened by the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof Irma Eloff on 18 March 2009 and ran till 27 March 2009. In her opening address for the exhibition the dean read a poem by Strickland Gillilan to emphasize the importance of reading to the little child:

 

Richer Than Goldpicture-027
“You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

Richer than I you can never be —

I had a mother who read to me.”

 

To see photos of the exhibition on Slideshare Click Here!

 

A controversy around the real SA matric pass rate

The real matric pass rate was only 36.2 % according to the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), and not 62,5 % as cited by the Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor.

The Institute’s South African Survey shows that in 2007 there were 920 716 pupils in Grade 11. Only 64 % of those pupils went on to write their matric examinations in 2008. Of these only 333 681 or 36.2 % of the original 2007 group passed matric in 2008.

To read the SAIRR’s 18 Jan 2009 press release on the matric pass rate Click Here!

To read an article on the matric pass rate in the Beeld, an Afrikaans newspaper Click Here!

Pandor dispels teaching myths

News24 reports:

Various myths and misrepresentations exist in the South African education system, including that teachers and textbooks “don’t matter”, said Education Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday. Speaking at an SA Curriculum and Teacher Support (Sacats) conference in Johannesburg, she told delegates this had caused confusion and dismay at schools.  

“Recent evidence suggests that some of our learning challenges emanate from various myths and misrepresentations… The first myth is that teachers don’t matter,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery at the conference.

“The jargon of the curriculum – self-discovery, knowledge generation and so on – has been presented as excluding teachers. This is an unintended consequence.  

Memorising

“Teachers are the key to successful learning. Facts and knowledge are important and learners need support from competent and knowledgeable learners. We need to devise interventions that restore the confidence of teachers,” Pandor said.  

A second myth was that teachers should not teach or guide, but allow “discovery”.  

This had led to teachers being “compelled” to teach in groups, to avoid the use of the blackboard, and to resist intervening even when pupils could not cope.  

Pandor said the third myth was that pupils shouldn’t be taught to memorise. Teachers were told that memory is antithetical to the new approach.  

Memorising has been confused with regurgitating, and this confusion has caused huge challenges, she said.  

A fourth myth was that textbooks did not matter. This had eroded the importance of textbooks and other curriculum materials. “Curriculum advisers have to take a leading role in reversing these myths,” Pandor said.

SOUTH AFRICA: Government may re-create teacher colleges

Writer: Karen MacGregor, University World News

In a policy about-face, the South African government is considering re-creating teacher training colleges that it closed a decade ago. Teacher programmes at colleges were either shut down or incorporated into universities. A teacher college campaign is being driven by South African President-in-waiting Jacob Zuma, backed by political parties and teacher unions – but not necessarily by universities – in the face of drastic teacher shortages in schools as teachers immigrate, die of AIDS or leave the profession.

Last week Minister of Education Naledi Pandor told parliament that her department was investigating options to re-establish some colleges in view of the teacher shortage. She said the education department had allocated R180 million (US$23 million) in 2008 for service-linked bursaries for 5,000 student teachers in universities, aiming to train more primary school teachers, more teachers to work in rural schools, and more maths and language teachers – the areas of critical shortage.

But since South Africa was still short of teachers in these key areas, the department was considering establishing “dedicated units, colleges, or institutions in each province to strengthen this triple need and to support provincial and local government-integrated development plans”. However, she has stressed that not all colleges will reopen as South Africa needs to train more teachers at university-level to improve quality.

Her announcement was welcomed by teacher unions. But John Lewis, media officer for the powerful South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), said government also needed to put more effort into making teacher training arrangements in universities work better.

“We don’t see this as colleges versus universities. We think that a lot of the intellectual drive behind teacher training will continue to come from universities. But colleges have a role to play in teacher training outreach,” he told University World News.

Sadtu’s pro-college argument has three main thrusts. First, Lewis said, when teacher training was transferred to universities “they didn’t really rise to the occasion. There has been a massive drop in the number of teachers being trained.” Universities are graduating around 6,000 to 10,000 teachers a year, but the profession is shedding 18,000 teachers a year. South Africa loses some 4,000 teachers a year to immigration.

Secondly, universities have focused on the high end of teaching, on upgrading teachers at the postgraduate level rather than training new teachers, Lewis explained. “Third, an advantage of colleges was that many were located in rural areas so they were much more accessible to people in areas that most need teachers. The idea to take teacher training to where it is most needed.”

Professor Mary Metcalfe, dean of humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand and chair of a forum for South African education deans, has come out against the re-opening of colleges because of changed conditions. She argued that expanding teacher training capacity and geographic reach should be built on the base of what has been achieved during eight years of teacher training being undertaken at universities. “What we need is for universities to create new models by establishing relationships with institutes,” she told reporters.

The pro-college movement began last December, when the ruling African National Congress voted for their resurrection at its annual conference in the northern town of Polokwane. Zuma made a political comeback at Polokwane to be elected leader of the ANC, after being fired as Deputy President of South Africa a few years earlier following allegations of corruption in South Africa’s multi-billion dollar arms deal. Although Zuma still faces corruption charges, as leader of the ANC he is in line to take over as President after national elections next year, the end of Mbeki’s second and constitutionally last term.

Zuma is an enthusiastic advocate of resurrecting teacher colleges, and recently he slammed former Minister of Education Kader Asmal for closing them down – and in the process doing “worse then what the apartheid regime did to our education system”.

It was an extraordinary statement of dubious accuracy, which Asmal – a former law professor at the University of Dublin, who retired from politics this year – responded to thus: “I regret that my comrade president has personalised this issue because the decision was taken by cabinet. I implemented it and I did not close down the colleges, but transferred them to institutions of higher education.” Asmal also pointed out that the cabinet decision to close colleges was taken when his predecessor, Professor Sibusiso Bengu, was education minister.

Teacher colleges were largely created under apartheid to train primary school teachers, and were administered by provinces in a system that Naledi Pandor described as dysfunctional. When it was decided during the 1990s to close them, she added, colleges were training too many teachers in a fragmented and un-coordinated system.

Further, the quality of college training was uneven, some colleges were too expensive for provinces to run (partly because they had too few students), and most African students “were disadvantaged by being locked into colleges in former homelands.” ‘Homelands’ were areas created under apartheid for black people, run by black leaders.

Between 1994 and 1998 the number of colleges was cut from 150 to 50. In 2001 it was announced that remaining colleges would fall under university education faculties. Pandor said the closure of teacher colleges had followed wide consultation and most stakeholders supported the move and “the associated policy decision to raise the professional status of the teaching profession by locating teacher education and training at universities.

“The argument that primary school teachers do not need a university education is part of the call to reopen teacher colleges and it is a policy proposal that is under review,” she said.

Story: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20080427091640134
University World News: www.universityworldnews.com

UP Bookjol: TUKSbooks Exhibition: Sat. 8 March

Don’t miss the opportunity of this century! Come and see the display of TUKSbooks in the Villa Museum. You still have till Saturday 8 March roundabout 18:00.
Rest your feet at our coffee bar and enjoy the atmosphere
of this wonderful building!
See the programme below for the interesting topics covered
during lunchtimes in the Univercity series:

Sat. 8 March 11:00-12:30: Villa Museum, Main Campus:

1. Children’s rights:  Ann Skelton (Sentrum vir Kinderreg)  11:00
2. Did Leonardo da Vinci invent the telescope?:  André Buys (Ingenieurs- en Tegnologiebestuur)  11:30
3. Wie was generaal Koos de la Rey eintlik?:   Fransjohan Pretorius (Historiese en Erfenisstudies)  12:00