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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!

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! 

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!

South African pupils too old for school?

A recent national household survey on Access to education undertaken by Social Surveys Africa and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (Cals) suggests that 10 % of pupils across all grades are three or more years outside the age-grade norm. Only 4% of children aged seven to 18 are not in school though.

This raises a question: if 96 % of our children are in school, why are our matric completion rates so dismal?  The survey showed that one of the reasons we have such high attendance rates for the ages seven to 18 is that learners take a long time to get through the schooling system. Just because you are in school at the age of 18 does not mean you are in grade 12.

To read more go to Sarah Meny-Gibert’ analysis in the Mail & Guardian by Clicking Here! 

To access the report of the Survey Click Here!

Universities are failing South Africa, SETA head says

Half a million South African graduates are without jobs because they don’t have enough occupational experience according to a Ivor Blumenthal chief executive of the Service Seta (Sector Education and Training Authority). He  believes universities don’t offer enough on-the-job training for their graduates. To read more go to Nkosana Lekotjolo’s article in the Sunday Times newspaper article at http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/article204824.ece

Fixing South African schools a 30 year task

Graeme Bloch, an education specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa recently wrote an article in the newspaper, Pretoria News about the dire straight South African schools are in. According to him a  toxic mix of problems keeps South Africa’s schools and educational institutions in a state of disaster, neither able to meet the skills needed in a growing economy nor able to provide jobs opportunities to youths.

In the article he highlights failures in the SA education system and discusses many of the problems South African schools face.

According to the Bloch fixing education will be a 30-year task, which must start now, with urgency.
Everyone should be on board, unified around a vision for a learning nation.  Priorities should be identified, phases for restoration should be stipulated, and a starting point chosen.  The debate around this should not be once-off, but a process.

Bloch further highlights some elements that could help focus such a restoration plan.

– “Teachers. How do we motivate the teachers? With training and clear texts, quality can rise. Through a mixture of encouragement and support – where necessary ‘gently’ holding recalcitrants’ feet to the fire, teachers will be central to the national endeavour. The best of our generations should aspire to teach”.

– “Departments must do their part, especially at provincial level. Fill vacant and ‘acting’ posts, manage properly, deliver on time and at the right place. The focus should be on management and follow through, responsibility and accountability”.

– “Society can rally around to ensure government structures fulfill their tasks”.

– “Corporate social investment spending is increasingly focused in clusters of schools over a consistent and long period across a range of programmes of support”.

– “Many graduates can organise to plough back into schools and help in a systematic way”.

– “Community programmes such as Proudly Manenberg, Tikkun, or efforts like those by the parents of Piet N Aphane High pupils in rural Limpopo, show that schools can be improved at grassroots level”.

– “A huge change in our mindset, accompanied by a massive effort, is needed to improve the quality of education, especially in the poorer schools where the majority of the disadvantaged are”.

To read the Pretoria News Article Click Here!