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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 departments are failing to deliver basic services to primary schools

A report released by Transparency International (TI) titled “Mapping Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa” shows that provincial education departments in South Africa are failing to deliver solid basic services to primary schools in South Africa.

The report found that schools received their budget allocations late, resulting in schools not having the required means to run their services effectively, and this had particular impact on the poorer non-fee-paying schools.

The report also showed that there was poor enforcement of rules and regulations by education departments, which led to weaknesses in the effectiveness and legitimacy of their work.

Other issued raised was:

  • concern by schools’ leadership over embezzlement at provincial level
  • low levels of participation, accountability and transparency at school level
  • lack of of participation and support from parents
  • staff absenteeism
  • infrastructure (15 % of schools had no electricity and 10% no water supply; one out of two learners indicated that they are not always provided with a desk)
  • sexual harassment and safety (one out of four learners felt that schools are unsafe and that rape and violence are major problems)
  • lack of knowledge of rules and regulations governing some key transactions at school level

To read the original SAPA article on News24 Click Here!

To read the report “Mapping Transparency, Accountability, and Integrity in Primary Education in South Africa” , Click Here!

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!

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!

Blade Nzimande announces immediate priorities for Department of Higher Education and Training

Dr Blade Nzimande, South African Higher Education and Training Minister recently announced some immediate priorities of the Department of Higher Education and Training. Speaking on post-school options for the Matric Class of 2009, he reiterrated that the next few months will see progress to many of the goals that has been set for the Department.

Some immediate priorities that Nzimande highlighted is support for the South African Deputy-president in the establishment of the HRD-SA Council, the strengthening of the National Skills Authority and paying particular attention to issues such as improving access and success rates in universities and colleges, developing the post-school funding system, advancing access to and quality of the College sector, redefining the SETA landscape and addressing efficiency challenges in the National Skills Fund.

He also announced that a higher education summit will be held in April where the challenge of transformation in higher education will be confronted. At the summit the the role of universities in interacting with and strengthening of other sectors of the system, especially colleges, will also be discussed.

Nzimande will also meet with the Chairs of Councils of the 23 South African universities to discuss the Soudien report on racial and other discrimination at higher education institutions.

The South African Government is committed to strengthen the country’s skills and human resource base, and as part of this commitment the Department of Higher Education and Training intend to broaden access to post-school education over time, Nzimande said. He indicated that the shape of the South African post-secondary system is not appropriately balanced between universities and colleges. Whilst access to universities must increase, enrolment in colleges should double in the next five years.  

For Universities, expansion of the system will be preceded by the careful prior development of capacity as part of the Department’s enrolment planning process with the sector: Enrolments must be matched to available resources, physical, human and financial. The average annual growth rate in head count student enrolments between 2005 (the base year for the enrolment planning process) and 2008 was 2.8%, compared to the target rate of 2.0% set in October 2007 by the Ministry of Education. The data available shows that student enrolments surged above these averages between 2007 and 2008. The head count student enrolment total rose from 761 000 in 2007 to 799 000 in 2008; an increase of 38 000 or 5%. The Full-Time Equivalent enrolled total, which is an indicator of the student load carried by the higher education system, rose from 519 000 in 2007 to 540 000 in 2008; an increase of 21 000 or 4%. Enrolments in Science and Technology majors grew at a rate of only 1.1% pa, between 2005 and 2008; compared to the target rate of 2.9% pa. The Department is awaiting the enrolment data for 2009, but understand that a further surge in headcount was experienced in many Universities. Work has begun on the second Cycle of System and Institutional Enrolment Planning.

He emphasized that increase in access, particularly of the poor and the working class, must be accompanied by increases in graduation rates, and success rates at all levels of study. Success is related to institutional investment in improving teaching and learning, and in student support and the social and living conditions of students.

To read Dr Blade Nzimande’s full speech Click Here!