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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!

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President Jacob Zuma places education and skills development at the centre of the South African government’s policies

South African President Jacob Zuma, placed education and skills development at the centre of the South African government’s policies in his State of the Nation Address on 11 February 2010. He announced a number of key activities that will be undertaken to achieve this.

In the government’s 2010 programme, it wants to improve the ability of children to read, write and count in the foundation years. 
The government wants learners and teachers to be in school, in class, on time, learning and teaching for seven hours a day. Teachers will be assisted by providing detailed daily lesson plans. Students will be provided with easy-to-use workbooks in all 11 languages.

Zuma also announced that from this year onwards, all grade 3, 6 and 9 students will write literacy and numeracy tests that are independently moderated. The aim is to increase the pass rate for these tests from the current average of between 35 and 40% to at least 60% by 2014. Results will be sent to parents to track progress.

In addition, each of the country’s 27 000 schools will be assessed by officials from the Department of Basic Education. This will be recorded in an auditable written report.

The government aims to increase the number of matric students who are eligible for university admission to 175 000 a year by 2014,  he continued.
He urged parents to cooperate with the government in making this a success. He also welcomed last month’s statement by the three teacher unions, NAPTOSA, SADTU and SAOU, reaffirming their commitment to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign from the beginning of 2010.

Zuma further stressed the need to invest in the youth to ensure a skilled and capable workforce to support growth and job creation. He then announced a plan to increase the training of 16-25 year olds in further education and training facilities to provide a second chance at education, for those who do not qualify for university.

The government is working with higher education institutions to ensure that eligible students obtain financial assistance, through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, he said.

He also announced that the government has set ambitious targets for skills development, to produce additional engineers and technicians, and to increase the number of qualified mathematics and science teachers.

Zuma also stressed that the number of youth who enter learnerships in the private and public sectors, should be increased.

To read the full State of the Nation Address on IOL Click Here!

New tracking system for South African school learners

The South Africa Department of Education has launched a new system aimed at tracking the movements of pupils from school to school. Called the Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS), the system will assign each pupil a unique tracking number that will remain with the pupil throughout his or her school career, giving school officials accurate learner enrollment data according to the South African Minister of Education Naledi Pandor.

The intention of the system is to collect the unit record data of each learner in the country from Grade R to Grade 12 and to track the movement of each learner from school to school throughout their school careers and to keep a history of each learner in the system. The system will also be able to identify individual learners who have left the system and will be able to compile accurate profiles of these learners.

To read more on the Learner Unit Record Information and Tracking System (LURITS) Click Here!