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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! 

 

Dysfunctional schools must be debated urgently in parliament – DA

The statement by the CEO of the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools that approximately 90% of schools are dysfunctional, confirms the need for an urgent parliamentary debate on the state of our education system, the Democratic Alliance (DA) recently said.

The DA suggested a solution-driven parliamentary debate that can provide a platform for an honest and open discussion on education where representatives from all political parties can exchange ideas on pragmatic solutions to important challenges in education.

Topics of such a debate according to them should include:

  • Plans to stem teacher attrition and fill teacher vacancies
  • Addressing basic infrastructure and sanitation backlogs: 2 401 of South Africa’s 24 739 public schools do not have water, 3 544 do not have electricity and 11 450 are still using pit latrines, 22 938 schools do not having stocked libraries, 21 021 do not have any laboratory facilities and 19 037 do not have computer centres (statistics from the National Education Infrastructure Management System Report 2011)
  • Textbook and workbook delivery, e.g. the Limpopo textbook crisis and further reports on book dumping and burning and books delivered in incorrect languages
  • Educator accountability and performance

To read more go to Annette Lovemore’s article on allAfrica by Clicking Here!

South African schools fared poorly in WEF Report

South African primary schools were placed 132th out of 144 countries with regard to quality teaching, and 115th with regard to access by children to these schools. This is the findings of the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2012/2013.

A positive point however was that South Africa’s Higher Education and Training sector as a whole was placed at 84th position. This could be because South Africa has a number of world-class universties, according to Graeme Bloch, an independent Education expert.

With regards to the quality of mathematics and science education South Africa was placed second last.

Countries with the best primary education according to the report is Belgium, Finland, New Zealand, Singapore, Netherlands, Iceland and Canada.

To read more go to Alet Rademeyer’s article in the Afrikaans newspaper Beeld by Clicking Here!

To read the WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2012/2013, 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!

Education crisis ‘not Verwoerd’s fault’ – Mamphela Ramphele

The ‘monumental failure’ in South African education was not Hendrik Verwoerd’s fault, but that of the current South African government, former anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele recently said at the Educational Management Association Conference, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This is in contrast to a statement made by President Jacob Zuma in which he blamed Verwoerd for the mess in South African schools. Ramphele said children under apartheid’s “gutter” education were better educated than today.

“By jove, at least the kids could write and read. And many of them understood history and understood geography”, she said.

To read more got to Leanne Jansen’s article in The Mercury on IOL News by Clicking Here!

or to read more go to Anne Sewell’s article in the Digital Journal by Clicking Here! 

Study show that low quality of schooling to the poor is reinforcing racial and economic inequities

A new study, “Low Quality Education as Poverty Trap”, done by the Social Policy Research Group at Stellenbosch University found that the schooling available to children in poor communities is reinforcing rather than challenging the racial and economic inequities created by South Africa’s apartheid-era policies.

Instead of providing much needed opportunities, South Africa’s ailing education system is keeping children from poor households at the back of the job queue and locking families into poverty for another generation

Using newly available data sets, including those linking information on income with numeracy skills, the report analyzed how low-quality tuition in the post-apartheid education system is perpetuating “exclusion and marginalization”.

To read more go to IRIN’s (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) web site by Clicking Here!

To read the Social Policy Research Group’s report Click Here!

National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) launched

South African Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga officially launched the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) in Pretoria recently and hailed it as a critical milestone in the journey towards quality education in South Africa.

NEEDU will be tasked with providing the Minister with an independent account of the state of schools and the development needs of the school education system through a monitoring and evaluation system.

The unit will also be responsible for identifying the factors that inhibit or advance school improvement; make recommendations for redressing the problem areas that undermine school improvement and to propose appropriate solutions to ensure that schools offer effective education for all learners.

Motshekga highlighted the fact that NEEDU will have the authority to conduct monitoring and evaluation of “schools, districts, provinces and the national department”.

“The entire system has to be monitored and evaluated in terms of how it is able or unable to support schools, learners, teachers, school managers, workers and parents,” Motshekga said.

“However, we emphasise schools because it is schools that are at the heart of our delivery. It is in schools where our main purpose for existence is. They are the most important unit in our work and the success of our sector should be judged by their performance and all our activities should be targeted at supporting schools and making them work.”

To read more on the Dept of Basic Education’s web site Click Here!