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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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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!

Access to Education in South Africa has improved – Nzimande

Access to education has improved over the past 17 years, Higher Education minister Blade Nzimande said recently in parliament.

“Approximately 96 percent of children now gain access to school in South Africa,” Nzimande said during debate in the National Assembly on President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address.

Nzimande said that in 2009 the gross enrolment ratio for Grades 1 to 12 stood at 92 percent. In higher education the total enrolments was nearing 90,000, which means the throughput rate has been improving, although it still has a long way to go.

The biggest challenge identified by the Department of Basic Education [DBE] according to Nzimande is the improvement of the quality of education, while nearly all of the Department of Basic Education’s current interventions are aimed at achieving this.

Dr Nzimande cited the improvement of learning outcomes in Maths, Science and Literacy as the biggest priority of the department, which is in line with Zuma’s directive on the three Ts –teachers, text and time.

The “improved” 2010 matric results proved that the schooling system was on a much better footing, he said.

Minister Nzimande then focussed on Higher Education and said the Department of Higher Education and Training had made “significant strides” in the past year in the field of higher education and training to tackle the challenge of creating a post school system that was responsive to the needs of youths and adults.

The adoption of the National Skills Development Strategy had been the anchor of government’s intervention on the skills development front, according to him.

Nzimande emphasized that South African universities needed to be nurtured, and must continue to provide high quality teaching, research, innovation and community service activities and to progressively improve their capacities.

“But”, Nzimande said, “we are working to ensure that these universities become more accessible and place student interests at the centre of their activities.”

Assistance would be given to institutions that need special attention, like those in rural areas, to help them build capacity to provide quality education. Task teams are also working hard to prepare for the establishment of universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape.

To read the original Sapa article on NewsTime Click Here!

South African Education Faculties flooded by students

The calibre of teachers in schools looks set to drastically improve as scores of South Africa’s top students sign up for the teaching profession, writes Prega Govender on Times Live.

Universities across the country confirmed being flooded with applications from first-year students wanting to study the four-year teaching degree.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s education faculty, increased its admission requirements after receiving almost 14,000 applications for only 650 places

Increased applications for the teaching degree at other South African institutions include:

  • University of Johannesburg: 2690 applications with 965 enrolled;
  • University of the Witwatersrand: 2800 applications with only 420 enrolled;
  • University of Pretoria: 2625 applications with 1333 enrolled;
  • University of Limpopo: more than 1500 applications for 524 places;
  • North West University: 1851 applications at two of its three campuses for 926 places; and
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: 1452 applications and only 365 admitted.

The University of Cape Town though does not offer the bachelor of education degree, and Stellenbosch University recorded a drop of 64 in its teacher enrolment from 280 last year to 216 this year.

A very encouraging trend according to Bobby Soobrayan, director -general of Basic Education is that pupils with good matric passes are thinking about teaching, which is ideal “as we want good students to go into teaching”.

To read Prega Govender’s original article that were published on Times Live Click Here!

 

Pupils from Model C schools doing better

The latest South Africa Survey recently released by the South African Institute for Race Relations have found amongst others that Model C schools (former whites-only schools) were still setting the pace for quality education. Race was found to be less important as a factor of scholastic achievement than the type of school a child attends. The matric rate for blacks in Model C schools in 2009 was 88%, compared to only 55% overall in all government schools. Coloured pupils in Model C schools achieved an 88 % pass rate compared to 76% overall while Indian pupils achieved 98 % compared to 92 % overall.

To read more go to Deon de Lange’s Mercury article on IOL by Clicking Here!

South African matric is a good solid qualification, according to Umalusi

South Africa’s matric is “exactly where it should be”, according to research comparing it to foreign qualifications, education monitoring body Umalusi says.

“The South African public can be reassured that the National Senior Certificate (NSC) is a good, solid, robust qualification,” Elizabeth Burroughs, a senior manager at Umalusi, said in Johannesburg at the release of a report on the international standing of South Africa’s matric.

To read more go to the Sapa article on Times Live by Clicking Here!

To read the Umalusi Report Click Here!