Tag Archives: literacy

South Africa is undoubtedly moving forward in education

Government has welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s request to serve on UN Secretary -General Ban Ki-Moon’s Education First Initiative which is geared towards advancing the achievement of quality, relevant and inclusive education for everyone across the world.

UN Secretary-General invited Zuma, who will one of ten inaugural Member State Champions for the Education First Initiative. The inaugural states are going to have the duty to give help and support to the UN Secretary-General to guarantee formidable visibility along with the success of the project.

The request to join the Education First Initiative is a clear indication to the reputation of South Africa as a country that is making an effort to undo the influence of centuries of colonialism and apartheid in education as well as other spheres according to Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj. The influence and impact of colonialism on education continues to be an extremely sensitive topic.


Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj

Numerous groups along with the Democratic Alliance have raised their objection to inclusion of South Africa given the recent failures of the Education Department whilst making claims that South Africa has not yet accomplished a great deal in education. This has also been backed up by universities stating that high students entering their institution are not prepared for post high school education.

Maharaj has defended his claims stating that these opinions are incorrect and malicious emphasizing that South Africa could count numerous successes in the last 18 years in reversing the consequence of a racist education system which had been created to suppress the majority. In many respects this statement is true but the we should not forget or discount the reality that after 18 years along with court orders, the education department still cannot deliver books to school children or take responsibility for this.

Among the list of accomplishments has been the splitting up of Basic and Higher Education in 2009 by the President to ensure that each could receive complete attention.

At the Basic Education level, government was forced to contend with the influence of poverty on learner overall performance along with aspects which include weak school management, teacher expertise and know-how, low levels of accountability in addition to limited resources all of which have impacted on the way schools performed.

As stated by Maharaj the government has systematically put into practice programs to deal with all of these flaws and improvement is being made. Most of all the government hopes to achieve the goal of universal access to education.


On top of that, more than eight million children are currently in no-fee schools not to mention the fact that government in addition has been successful in facilitating universal access to primary education. The percentage of girls enrolled in primary, secondary and tertiary education is without a doubt improving substantially. At the same time, the government’s school nutrition programme is currently feeding in excess of eight million children in more than 20 000 schools which has had a beneficial influence on overall performance of students.

Government is furthermore on course to fulfill its goal of having 100% coverage for Grade R by 2014. Grade R enrolment has grown from 300 000 to over 700 000 between 2003 and 2011. The government continues work tirelessly at eliminating mud schools with an injection of 8.2 billion rand been allocated to the programme. Over the next few months the government is expecting to open new schools in the Eastern Cape region replacing the old mud schools. The success rate of matric students has also improved from 67.8% in 2010 and 70.2% in 2011.

Maharaj also stated that government continuously work relentlessly to further improve the quality of teaching maths and science in addition to the teaching of literacy and numeracy. The education department also aims to improve the current university pass rate and providing graduates a greater chance of employment.

In order to improve literacy and numeracy in primary schools, the department of education has implemented Annual National Assessment (ANA) tests make it possible for to objectively appraise the health and well-being of the education system below Grade 12.


“The 2011 ANA results confirmed our belief that the levels of literacy and numeracy are very low, Grade 3 learner average scores are 28% and 35% for numeracy and literacy respectively. We want schools to use the results to produce school development plans so that we can systematically improve education outcomes. The target is to have 60% of Grade 3 learners performing at required literacy levels, at least 60% of Grade 9 learners performing at required mathematics levels, and 175 000 Grade 12 learners pass with a bachelor’s pass by 2014,” said Maharaj.

On the subject of school management, government has established objectives of producing in excess of 40 000 teachers by 2014. Additionally, when it comes to institutions providing Foundation Phase teacher education, the government hopes to increase the number from 13 to 21 within the upcoming four years. A few of these are going to be revitalized former colleges of education.

Regarding textbooks and learning materials, government has directed the Department of Basic Education to enhance the distribution logistics to ensure that books get to schools on time next year in order to avoid the issues that arose in Limpopo and other provinces this year. Even though the government is looking forward, no action has been taken for the text book blunder even after court decisions. One would have to question the true intent and responsibility of government. Many people have expressed the opinion that if this scenario were to happen in the private sector, those responsible would be seeking new employment. President Zuma is currently  processing the Presidential Task Team report on the Limpopo saga and will make a statement as soon as he has completed the process.

“A lot of progress is being made in improving higher education access and outcomes. To reduce finance as a barrier to accessing post school training, allocations for loans and bursaries increased from R3.3 billion in 2010/11 to R5.5 billion in 2011/12, with R17 million focusing on learners with disability.”


Lets hope, for the future of the country,  that these decisions will not be politically based given the fact that the future of the country depends the children and the education they receive.


To express your views and opinion you can call the President Hotline toll-free on 17737 or email president@po.gov.za

Source: SAnews.gov.za


SA pupils preparing to take Annual National Assessment


Over half a million pupils in Mpumalanga are going to be examined to ascertain their literacy and numeracy levels.

Public school children in Grades 1 to 6 and 9 are going to take the Annual National Assessment exams between September 21 and 28.

“Over 591 050 learners in the province will write the ANA exams to test their language skills and their grasp of mathematics,” said Education MEC Reginah Mhaule. “We have already sent examples of previous exams to schools so teachers can prepare themselves and their learners for the coming tests.”

There is a hope within the department that pupils will be able to attain an average score of at least 49% for mathematics and literacy this year.

In 2010, Mpumalanga received the worst results country wide amongst Grade 3, 6 and 9 pupils with an average of 23% for numeracy and literacy tests. This was the very first time that the national Department of Basic Education had carried out ANA exams to evaluate literacy among lower grade pupils throughout the country.

The Mpumalanga province will pay out R70 million this financial year to further improve pupils’ literacy and numeracy at the province’s 1363 state primary schools. The department is planning to releasethe test results for this year’s ANA exams in December.

All test materials and marking memoranda is going to be provided by the national department. In to access the quality of the upcoming ANA exams, the department will centrally moderate a sample of three scripts per class.

Source: SAnews.gov.za


7 million pupils scheduled to write ANA exams

More than seven million pupils in Grades 1 to 6 and Grade 9 are going to write this year’s Annual National Assessments (ANAs), planned to be written between 18 and 21 September.

The Department of Basic Education has prioritised the ANAs, which puts literacy and numeracy skills of the country’s young learners to the test, as a crucial method for overseeing and keeping track of the accomplishment of the goals set in the department’s action plan.

As reported by the department, the objective of the assessments is to ascertain an objective national benchmark by which to calculate literacy and numeracy achievement levels.

ANA evaluation is undertaken by the education department to ensure that progress can be correctly assessed and appropriate intervention designed and implemented where it is actually required.



The ANA definitely won’t be utilized for promotion to the next grade, rather as a guide for teachers to recognize challenges in curriculum coverage as well as to inform their lessons in the classroom.

Teachers will mark these assessments based on instructions furnished by the department, and parents will receive ANA results before the end of October.

The department also explained that the School Governing Body (SGB) will receive, at the start of each year, a written report from the district office which will make it possible for schools to compare its ANA results to those of other schools within the same district.

The department has called out to all parents and guardians to rather encourage their children instead of placing them under any pressure.

Parents need to boost their children’s confidence along with their individual abilities and make certain that their children comprehend that these are not examinations whereby they can pass or fail, but rather tests to determine whether they have any issues with literacy and numeracy while they are still in primary school.

The department in addition has made certain that teachers have the ability to sufficiently prepare for this year’s assessments.



In order to assist learners and parents, the department has made the following resources available on its website:


  •  A qualitative report on what learners were not able to do in ANA 2011 and how these can be improved.
  •  Three sets of test exemplars which illustrate the scope, depth and testing techniques used in ANA tests for each grade.
  •  A complete exemplar test of Mathematics and language for each grade.
  •  ANA guidelines which indicate the expected curriculum coverage at the time of ANA administration which will be at the end of the third quarter of the school year.

To view resources go to the department’s website CLICK HERE


Source: BuaNews


School Youth Attendance Drops in SA

More than 70% of individuals between the ages of seven and 24 happen to be studying at educational institutions within South Africa, a marginally reduced figure when compared to preceding years according to Statistics South Africa.

“Country wide, 73.6% of persons aged 7-24 were attending educational institutions. This figure is to some degree lower than in 2002 when the attendance rate was 73.9%,” Statistics SA stated in its recently released General Household Survey (GHS) 2011.

Based on the report, insufficient cash for fees continued to be the main reason for many individuals within this age bracket that were not studying.

In excess of two-thirds (35.9%) of premature school leavers in this age group blamed an absence of money for not studying. The comparable figure is as high as 41.6% in North West according to Stats SA.



The report determined that government’s “no fee school” system together with other funding mechanisms were actually starting to show results. The “no fee school” system was put in place in 2007.

“The number of pupils who reported the fact that they paid no tuition fees multiplied from 0.7% in 2002 to 55.6% in 2011,” said the GHS. A very high proportion of non-payers were actually in Limpopo (89.7%) and the Eastern Cape (71.8%).

In 2011, 94% of the interviewed pupils were studying at public schools with 74.2% of the pupils that went to public schools benefitting from feeding schemes. “This number has grown from 66.2% in 2009,” documented the report.

Learners in Limpopo (94.7%), Northern Cape (86.7%) and Eastern Cape (84.6%) happen to be the most likely to reap the benefits of this programme. The National School Nutrition Programme came into effect in 2002.



At the same time, the number of pupils revealing the fact that they encountered corporal punishment at school increased from 16.8% in 2009 to 17.2% in 2011. “The majority of increases are evident in Northern Cape (25.5% to 30.2%) and Limpopo (14.6% to 19.3%). This method of punishment was in most cases encountered in Eastern Cape (30.2%) and KwaZulu-Natal (22.5%).”

Approximately 652 869 students were actually signed up at higher educational institutions during 2011. Approximately 65.4% of these students were black.

“Having said that, proportionally this group continues to be underrepresented. Only 3.5% of Africans aged 18 to 29 years were actually studying compared to 14.9% of Indian/Asian individuals and 20% of the white population within this age group. Merely 3.8% of the coloured population was studying during 2011,” pointed out the report.

The research at the same time discovered that in excess of 91.9% of South Africans have the ability to read and write. The adult literacy rate, nevertheless, lags behind the average in provinces which include Mpumalanga and Limpopo where respectively 86.8% and 87% of populations happen to be literate.

Source: BuaNews


Strategy to deal with low literacy and numeracy rates

The Council of Education has approved an Integrated National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy as part of the Basic Education Department’s reaction to the need for urgency in dealing with the low achievement levels of learners in literacy and numeracy.

“The low overall performance levels of our learners were validated by way of the Annual National Assessment (ANA), together with the regional and international benchmark assessments. The council emphasised the fact that the strategy is to address the inadequate performance in literacy and numeracy must be a national one that combines all the provincial initiatives in this area,” the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said.

She spelled out how the approach will focus on classrooms and teachers as key levers for change in learner performance. It’s going to be guided by the department’s 2012 goal of consolidating the work around the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), ANAs and the workbooks.



Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga


“Provinces, districts and school communities have to focus all their energies on making improvements to reading, comprehension, writing and counting,” Motshekga, who had earlier met with the Council of Education.

The purchasing of school workbooks, where a number of schools purchased a set of three different literacy books and language use, were on the list of teething problems recognized by the department during the 2011 ANAs, and Motshekga explained that all provinces have committed to the further institutionalization of ANA in 2012.

She pointed out that the ANAs has made it easier for the department to identify and go deeper to understand where the problem was taking place, locate which schools were not performing along with the reasons behind non-performance, stressing the necessity for an integrated approach for turn around.

“With the strategy, we are refocusing in a far more comprehensive way, we are focusing on principals and study system. The approach informed us on what the provinces are doing and learn what works in each province, work on information, teacher training and distribution of work books with good quality, as well as mobilising parents to participate…” said Motshekga.

Source: BuaNews