Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has promised that all learners will have the necessary textbooks at the start of the 2014 academic year but is she willing to place her job on the chopping block if she fails to deliver on her promises.
Motshekga stated that she is confident that textbook will be delivered to all learners and the educations department’s goal is to have one textbook per child per subject for the 2014 academic year.
She said that the delivery of textbook is 90% complete with KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State having a few delays in delivery because of budget challenges and different procurements procedures. However, she said the department is monitoring these issues.
Motshekga also announced that the department of education is progressing with the distribution of Learning and Teaching Support Material and will continue to make good on the delivery of 50 million workbooks annually.
Annual National Assessment (ANA)
The 2013 ANA’s which began on 10 September are now approaching its final stages. This year, more that seven million learners from grades 1-6 and grade 9 took the annual assessment test. The ANA test are critical for the department of education to provide them with a yardstick to assess the literacy and numeracy skills of learners at the foundation, intermediate and senior phases of the education system. This year’s ANA results will be announced on the 5th of December.
School Norms and Standards
In September the department of education called on all individuals and groups involved in education to submit comments on the norms and standards for school infrastructure following the minister’s approval of draft regulations.
The main objective of the regulations to create a guideline in the provisioning of an enabling physical teaching and learning environment that is sustainable and equitable for all learners in South Africa.
Motshekga said that the department of education has thus far received an extensive number of of comments and submissions and that the department would publish the norms and standards on the 29th of November.
Upgrading the education system
The education department is continuing with its efforts to convert workbooks for grade 1-9 into interactive applications in co-operation with the Department of Science and Technology. There is also a pilot project underway and expected to rollout shortly where tablets will be supplied to both teachers and learners in the Eastern Cape.
The department of education is continuing with its efforts to implement a Mathematics, Science and Technology strategy which is being conducted by the Ministerial Task Team for Mathematics, Science and Technology.
Motshekga stated that her department has made noticeable progress in the department’s response to the task teams recommendations and it is the intention of the education department to establish a specialized Maths, Science and Technology department in order to tackle all issues and problems when it comes to learner numeracy in South Africa.