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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!

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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!

The literacy levels of primary schools teachers under the spotlight

The competency of primary school teachers recently came under the spotlight, just before the first national assessments of numeracy and literacy levels of primary school pupils.

2008 figures have shown that the majority of grades 3 and 6 pupils in South Africa’s Gauteng province could not read or write at the appropriate level, representing a national figure. Some believe that teachers are to blame, but we need to understand the literacy levels of South African teachers, according to education analyst Sarah Gravett. “A few years ago there was some tests done where teachers wrote grade 6 tests on literacy and many failed or struggled with those tests”

To read more go to the original article on the SABC News site by Clicking Here!

Plans for workbooks in South African schools criticised

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s plan to spend R750m on workbooks for all primary school pupils in public schools was called into question recently by research that shows a workbook makes no more difference to educational performance than a textbook. The idea of giving children workbooks was first put forward by Ms Motshekga at the end of last year when she listed several changes to the school curriculum, but an initial promise to make workbooks available for the start of this school year was withdrawn when a R522m tender for 45-million pupil workbooks and parent guidelines for monitoring homework was recalled due to shoddy work.

“It is not workbooks that make the difference … (research shows) it is the presence of books that does,” JET Education Services senior researcher Nick Taylor said recently at a Pretoria workshop on what could be done to strengthen education in South Africa.

To read more go to Sue Blaine’s article “South Africa: research challenges plan to supply workbooks” in Business Day on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!

OR read Alison Moody’s article “SOUTH AFRICA: Row over research into school books”  in University World News Africa Edition by Clicking Here!

Free Grade R access for Mpumalanga schools

The Mpumalanga government plans to make Grade R (reception year) free and compulsory in all primary schools in the province by 2014. To read more go to Sydney Masinga’s article on allAfrica.com by Clicking Here!