President Jacob Zuma has urged all South Africans to work alongside one another in support of basic education and the future of the children.
Commenting on the 2011 Annual National Assessments (ANA) of numeracy and literacy skills outcomes, Zuma believed the assessments have “reconfirmed the correctness of the government resolution to ensure education is a top priority as well as a social obligation across the country.”
He called on the country to hold up the banner of literacy and numeracy and additionally come together when it comes to making certain that all citizens attain these fundamental and essential skills.
The assessment, which were held in February, consists of numeracy and literacy tests performed among six million foundation phase (Grades 1 to 3) and intermediate phase (Grades 4 to 6) pupils going to government schools.
The ANA results indicated that nationally, Grade 3 pupils performed at an average of 35 percent in literacy and 28 percent in numeracy, while the provincial overall performance stands between 19 percent and 43 percent, with the highest being the Western Cape.
In Grade 6, the nation’s average performance in languages is 28 percent, while mathematics performance is 30 percent. The provincial percent within the two areas ranges somewhere between 20 percent and 41 percent, with the highest being the Western Cape and lowest being Mpumalanga.
Whilst admitting the fact that the outcome was unsatisfactory, Zuma mentioned that they enlighten the nation of learners’ overall performance, and additionally illustrate that where literacy and numeracy programmes are carried out effectively and in a focused way as with Gauteng and Western Cape, overall performance is without a doubt improved upon.
He added the fact that the considerable intervention of testing approximately six million learners is just one of government’s numerous strategies to be able to make certain that the outcome of enhanced quality learning and teaching is accomplished.
“The goal of the ANA is in the first instance to provide government with a means to assess on an annual basis the overall performance of the whole sector – from the individual learner, class, school, district, province along with the country in general. This will certainly make it possible for authorities to effectively evaluate on an annual basis the influence of specific programmes and interventions.
“The ANA outcomes at the same time make it possible for government to recognize points in the system – whether province, district or school – where intervention should be applied, industry professionals will work with the Planning and Delivery Oversight Unit to assist provinces to execute effectively all education programmes and interventions designed to bolster learning and teaching and improved quality of basic education,” Zuma explained in a statement.
In a bid to boost learning and enhance the quality of teaching, government has recently set up programmes, such as the distribution of workbooks to almost six million children in 2011.
Government has additionally announced practical reforms such as streamlining curriculum documents for teachers into the Curriculum and Assessments Statements, in addition to making plans to further improve the language skills of learners by releasing the language of learning and teaching in Grade 1 along with lowering the number of subjects in the intermediate phase.
Government has additionally completed the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development for South Africa. The main objective is firmly on more targeted, subject-specific teacher education and development which will enhance teacher content knowledge and expertise.