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Poorest schools perform worst in national assessment tests

The recent South African Report on the National Assessments (ANA), showed that the poorest schools fared worst in national assessment tests.

The ANA written in February 2011, involving almost six million learners in primary schools throughout South Africa represents one of the most significant proactive interventions by Government to strengthen the foundational skills of Literacy and Numeracy among South African learners.

The report showed that primary school children from the provinces Mpumalanga, Limpopo, and Northwest could not even reach the basic skill levels for literacy and numeracy. The reason for this according to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga is socio-economical.

Nationally learners in Grade 3 obtained an average of 35 % for literacy and 28 % for numeracy, and Grade 6 learners an average of 28 % for literacy and 30 % for numeracy.

The percentage of schools that could not obtain the basic literacy skills can be summed up as follows:

Province Grade 3 Grade 6
Western Cape 41 41
Eastern Cape 45 67
KZN 48 68
Free State 50 80
Gauteng 53 54
Limpopo 61 85
Northwest 63 83
Northern Cape 66 70
Mpumalanga 67 85

To read the Afrikaans article by Antoinette Pienaar in the Beeld newspaper Click Here!

To read the Report on Annual National Assessments of 2011 Click Here!

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Plans for workbooks in South African schools criticised

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s plan to spend R750m on workbooks for all primary school pupils in public schools was called into question recently by research that shows a workbook makes no more difference to educational performance than a textbook. The idea of giving children workbooks was first put forward by Ms Motshekga at the end of last year when she listed several changes to the school curriculum, but an initial promise to make workbooks available for the start of this school year was withdrawn when a R522m tender for 45-million pupil workbooks and parent guidelines for monitoring homework was recalled due to shoddy work.

“It is not workbooks that make the difference … (research shows) it is the presence of books that does,” JET Education Services senior researcher Nick Taylor said recently at a Pretoria workshop on what could be done to strengthen education in South Africa.

To read more go to Sue Blaine’s article “South Africa: research challenges plan to supply workbooks” in Business Day on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

OR read Alison Moody’s article “SOUTH AFRICA: Row over research into school books”  in University World News Africa Edition by Clicking Here!

New Curriculum for South African schools

South African Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga yesterday announced changes to the South African education system.

The new curriculum Schooling 2025 would replace the highly criticised outcomes based education (OBE) system introduced in 1998. However, OBE would not be completely scrapped but would be modified to improve the performance of school pupils.

The new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement will replace the existing method, where assessment requirements were mapped onto the achievement of outcomes and assessment standards

To read Angie Motshekga’s full StatementClick Here!

To read more go to Sipho Masombuka and Tebogo Monama’s article in the Sowetan by Clicking Here!

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

The Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) documents can be accessed on the Dept of Basic Education’s website by Clicking Here!

South Africa lost 26000 teachers in 3 years

South Africa lost a staggering 26000 teachers in the three years from 2005 to 2008, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently revealed.

The revelation comes against a background of serious fears that the country cannot train teachers fast enough to meet current demand, as teachers either head for greener pastures, retire or die of old age.

To read more go to Wyndham Hartley’s Business Day article on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

Motshekga unveils Master Plan for Education in South Africa

The South African Department of Basic Education has developed an action plan to co-ordinate and guide all interventions in the department in order to turn the education system around.

The plan, which will be known as Schooling 2025: The Department of Basic Education’s Action Plan, will provide long-term solutions to the challenges facing the department, said Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

The plan will make provision for the monitoring of progress against a set of measurable indicators covering all aspects of basic education, including teacher recruitment and retention, learner enrolment and well-being, infrastructure, school funding, mass literacy and educational quality.

“The plan will establish key outcomes and performance deliverables for the entire education system, including the national and provincial departments.
“It will commit provinces and provincial education departments to clear, agreed-to outcomes and ensure that all in the system are accountable for attaining these outcomes,” Motshekga said.

She reiterated that South Africa’s learning outcomes continued to be unsatisfactory.

“All local and international assessments are agreed that far too many of our learners, especially African learners, do not perform at the required level.

“We have identified the underlying factors and we are determined to work systematically to resolve them,” said Motshekga.

She added that the adoption of an outcomes approach in implementing government’s priorities, announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address, will ensure that the work of government is measured according to outcomes.

“The outcomes approach enables us to set measurable targets and deliverables, against which we and South Africa can monitor our progress in addressing the challenges in education that remain.”

This article was obtained from BuaNews Online  and was compiled by the South African Government Communication and Information System.

Motshekga plans to overhaul the school system

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga recently briefed the media in Cape Town on plans the South African government’s human development cluster had to boost the quality of education.  She said her department was looking at rolling out scholar transport to pupils in rural areas and was in talks with the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) and the National Treasury to find ways to increase the amount of funding necessary to build new schools.

She also stressed that the commitment and hard work of teachers and school governing bodies is key to making schools more successful.

Other aspects of the plan includes enrolling all children for Grade R and increasing the number of Grade 12 students who pass matric exams and who qualify for university from 105 000 to 175 00 by 2014.

The Department also plans to increase the number of Grade 12 students who pass maths and science exams from 165 000 to 225 000 by 2014 and to double the number of learners in Grade 3, 6 and 9 in public schools who obtain the minimum acceptable marks.

Agreement has also been reached with with unions to reduce the number of strike hours. The administrative burden of continuous task assessment has been reduced too.

Learning and teaching packs for Grade R teachers, containing lesson plans, learners’ workbooks and story books among other things, has been distributed to all 13 900 schools that offer Grade R.

The Department has also introduced an assessment for grades 3, 6 and 9 in an effort to lay a sold foundation of learning and to measure the success of interventions in literacy and numeracy.

To read more go to the Bua News article on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

Minister of Basic Education cracks the whip on Matric results

“The decline in the national matric pass rate of 62.5 % to 60.6 % is marginal but depressing”, the South African Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga recently said after the release of the 2009 matric results. According to her she is disappointed and has sleepless nights because the Department of Basic Education is not where is should be.

The 2009 pass rates for the respective provinces were as follows:

  • Western Cape: 75.7%
  • Gauteng: 71.8 %
  • Free State: 69.4 %
  • Northwest: 67.5 %
  • Northern Cape: 61.3 %
  • KwaZulu-Natal: 61.1 %
  • Eastern Cape: 51 %
  • Limpopo: 48.9 %
  • Mpumalanga: 47.9%

She announced a sectoral blueprint plan that will be developed before the end of March 2010, to ensure a turn around of the education system, and to address ineffective education.

She said urgent steps are needed to improve the quality of education. Schools and teachers need more and better support and training, and better infrastructure and timely delivery of handbooks. Motshekga also suggested direct interventions in schools and the co-opting of experts that can help strenghten systems.

To read the original article written by Alet Rademeyer in Afrikaans in the Beeld Newspaper Click Here!