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Grammar will still be taught in South African schools

The South African Department recently reiterated that it has no intention to remove the teaching of grammar from the school syllabus. The separate assessment of grammar in the exam will be removed though.

This announcement came in the midst of an outcry from the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa), stating that the scrapping of grammar teaching in schools was “problematic” because it would negatively affect literacy, particularly among second language students.

Spokesman for the Department of Basic Education, Graham Whittle said this change is part of an international trend to move away from teaching grammar as a “stand alone”, towards the integration of grammar into the writing and reading components would allow grammar to be taught “in context”.

Naptosa criticized this decision and felt to relegate grammar in this way would neglect two factors:

  • Literacy levels of learners in the formal schooling system have been shown [repeatedly] to be particularly poor.
  • For the majority of learners in South Africa, the language of learning and teaching is English, which in most cases is their second, or even third, language.”

The development of competence in grammar was therefor crucial for education across all other subjects.

To read the original article in the Mail and Guardian Online Click Here!

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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!

Web 2.0 for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

The Obervatory on Borderless Higher Education Published an interesting report in August 2007 on “Web 2.0. for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education”. This report authored by Tom Franklin founder of Franklin Consulting, an Education Technology Consultancy and Mark Van Harmelen an independent ICT consultant who works in education and technology enhanced learning at the University of Manchester’s School of Computer Science, discusses the uses of Web 2.0 in higher education and examines the practices at five institutions currently implementing Web 2.0: the UK Universities of Brighton, Leeds, Warwick, and Edinburgh, and the University of Klagenfurt in Austria. It then considers ways in which Web 2.0 impacts institutional policy and strategy. In the final section it then analyses issues related to Web 2.0 in learning, teaching and assessment. This report may be used to help formulate policy and guidelines for Web 2.0 use in universities. Although it identifies some of the risks associated with Web 2.0 implementation, including intellectual property and security issues, and because the application of Web 2.0 in higher education is still in an early stage it concludes by recommending that institutions impose only minimal and necessary regulations in order to avoid constraining experimentation with Web 2.0 technologies and allied pedagogies. The report is available to subscribers (UP does subscribe) on the Obervatory on Borderless Higher Education’s web site at  http://www.obhe.ac.uk/products/reports/