Tag Archives: South Africa

Annual National Assessment results expected to be released tomorrow

Department of Basic Education logo2

 

South Africa awaits with abated breathe for the release of the 2013 Annual National Assessment (ANA) results and judge just how well learners are doing when it comes to numeracy and literacy. Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga is expected to release the results tomorrow.

The main objective of the ANA testing process is to test the progress of learners around the country and their achievements in numeracy and literacy.

The ANA testing forms the backbone of the department of education’s Action Plan 2014: Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025.

During this years annual testing process, more than 7 million learners from grades 1-6 and 9 took the tests. Given the fact that literacy and numeracy are the universally accepted key skills for successful learning, the ANA tests focus on these critical skills.

The ANA tests are not utilized in any way to assess a learners progression or promotion status. The main idea behind the ANA tests is to obtain a better insight into the learners current achievements in literacy and nunnery and whether or not they need additional help in class or not.

The ANA tests help teachers and educators understand their students better and whether or not their students measure up to expectations. The ANA test results enables teachers and educators to adapt and change their lesson plans to better fit their classes. The results are also used by district officials to improve or adapt school improvement plans and offer the appropriate support to schools that they identify in need of help.

Not only are learners waiting to see how they did on the tests, so is the Department of Basic Education and Minister Angie Motshekga. Not only do the ANA tests give an idea of how our learners are doing in literacy and numeracy, it also provides information about the progress of the Ministry of Education and their programmes to improve the country’s education.

For more information about the Annual National Assessment – click here

Source: SAnews.gov.za

Motshekga’s brave new plan to improve basic school infrastructure

NGO Equal Education

 

Finally after 3 years, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has given in to public demand and will make changes to minimum uniform norms and standards for public school infrastructure regulations  and agrees that regulations can be improved upon. There will changes to the previously set time frames and priority will be given to the worst schools in the country.

One of the most significant changes to the minimum uniform norms and standards for public school infrastructure regulations is the time frame for all schools built with mud, asbestos and other inappropriate materials which has been reduced from 10 years to 3 years.

The final  version of the minimum uniform norms and standards for public school infrastructure regulations was finally released on Friday by Minister Angie Motshekga, and now both national and provincial departments of education will be held directly accountable if schools are up to scratch.

The NGO Equal Education after many years of campaigning has finally succeeded in changing the regulations. The general secretary of NGO Equal Education, Brad Brockman, stated that the organization is pleased with the changes and is hoping to work with Minister Angie Motshekga and all education departments to provide decent schools for all learners in South Africa. He said, “ These regulations will be part of her legacy and have the potential, subject to implementation, to improve the lives of millions of children.”

Brokcman did add that the only disappointment for the NGO was that it took so long and many courts applications and threats for the regulations to be finalized and published.

Another significant deadline change for basic services from 10 to 3 years is the provision of power, water and sanitation. The provision of basic services within 3 years is a major victory to the changes to the school infrastructure regulations and “major victory for activism”.

As part of the new regulations and a significant improvement on the draft norms and standards is that all classrooms, electronic connectivity and fencing will now have to be provided within 7 years, while libraries and laboratories will have to be provided within 10 years. All other infrastructure norms and standard will be have to be provided by 2030.

Brockman did add that the NGO is disappointed that MECs are only required to develop their infrastructure plans within the next instead of the 6 months as mentioned in the draft document.

The NGO Equal Education will continue to fight and campaign and make sure that all provincial departments planned, budgeted and implemented the norms and standards fully. they would also make sure that all plans and reports be reported publicly and make sure that all departments be held accountable and on schedule.

Chief executive of the Governing Body Foundation, Tim Gordon, commented on the new minimum uniform norms and standards for public school infrastructure regulations as a positive step forward and a good balance between what was practically possible and what was ideally desirable. “It is clear they have taken into account the submissions that were made. It is certainly improved from the one we had as a draft earlier. A very sensible, reasonable and responsible approach. We hope it will be implemented as well as it has been set out in the regulations.”

Gordon added that even though the final completion date is still 2030, at least the education department’s priorities have changed.

The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa has also commented on the new norms and standards are generally pleased and extremely happy about the amended 3 year deadlines.

SA Education Department trying to defend it reputation once again

South Africa Schools

 

Once again, the Department of Education is on the defensive and trying to defend its reputation after claim have been lodged that it has failed to deliver on its mandate.

According to reports, the Western Cape based Progressive Principals Association (PPA) is threatening to sue the government and department of education for it failure to deliver on it mandate and tackle the numerous issues and problems in the country’s education system ranging from poor literacy and numeracy skills to delivering learning material.

In a statement released by the education department it states that the government has made progress is a number of areas with an overall improvement in the country’s education system, including the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) programme, early childhood development and the School Nutrition Programme, among others.

Panyaza Lesufi, the education departments spokesperson, has called on all those individuals who are making baseless claims to check their facts prior to publishing “falsehoods that mislead the public.”

Lesufi cited the ASIDI programme where more than 40 schools have been handed over to communities in the Eastern Cape which created more than 7000 jobs during the building process and spent over of R1.28 billion.

“The programme is largely emphasised in the Eastern Cape but its impact can be felt across the length and breadth of the country. The success story of ASIDI goes far deeper than that of bricks, metal and cement. It tells of a human story of perseverance and triumph,” said Lesufi.

Lesufi also stated that the Early Childhood Development (ECD) has also progressed since 1994 with over 19500 registering for the programme. Not only have the number of children in the ECD increased, so has the quality of the programme according to the department.

According to the department, the School Nutrition Programme now provides quality meals to over nine million learners in over 21 000 schools every school day. At the inception of the food programme, meals were only available to primary schools but this has now been extended to secondary schools. Now all learners are provided with quality meals in contrast to the past where only targeted learners were provided daily meals.

Lesufi reiterated that the School Nutrition Programme has been a massive undertaking of the government and it has also promoted the access, attendance and participation in education for learners from the poorest communities. The goal of the Integrated School Health Programme  was to scale up school health services to reach all learners in the schooling system.

The department of education has also claimed that the increase in the pass rate of matric students in their final exams has increased by 3.7% in 2012. Many involved in the education sector of South Africa feel that this figure were slightly fudged and marks were adjusted.
The education department also claims that it has delivered over 50 million textbooks every year as part of its commitment to improving literacy and numeracy skills of learners. Don’t tell the learners in Limpopo about this. I am positive the learners in the province will have a different opinion to this claim.

 

Recent research studies and reports

Prior to calling on all those who make “baseless claims”, it is Panyaza Lesufi along with Minister of Education who should read the numerous studies and reports that have been released over the past few months relating to the standards and quality of education in the country.

A research study by Nicholas Spaull from the University of Stellenbosch, indicates that Grade 6 pupils are out-performing their teachers in basic mathematics. Read more…

Or perhaps government and ministers should read the comment by Dr Nick Taylor who has called South Africa’s literacy levels a national catastrophe and a disaster for the country and future economic growth. Read more…

A recent study undertaken by Michèle Stears and Angela James from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has shown that high school matric results are generally a poor indicator of 1st year university performance. In order to improve upon the performance of university students would require that the Department of Basic Education equip high school students with the required skills and competencies as outlined in the department’s policy documents. Students entering university are ill-equipped and do not possess these basic skills and competencies to succeed at university. Read more…

The Council on Higher Education (CHE) also published a damning report on the state of university graduates in the country. The report outlines that the leading cause for the atrocious student performance at university level is primarily due to the inadequate academic performance at school. The report goes on to say that given the current schooling curriculum and systems, there is little hope that the South African schooling system will be adequately be able to prepare matriculants to levels required by higher education institutions in the near future. Read more …

According to the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2013, South Africa is the second worst in world when it comes to mathematics and science and 4th worst when it comes to quality of the educational system. Read more…

Before the government or education department tells any critics to check their facts before making baseless claims, it is the Department of Education and all those responsible for the country’s education system who should read all the research and studies that is being done regarding the state of the country’s education system before claiming victory in the fight to improve literacy and numeracy in our education system.

Source: Image from dailymaverick.co.za

Corruption in South African schools continues to grow

Corruption Watch South Africa

 

Corruption and irregularities in South African schools continues to grow with Corruption Watch receiving more than 300 reports of corruption in Schools. New information and research undertaken by Mxit has confirmed that corruption is on the rise and urgent attention is required.

The survey into corruption in South Africa school was done by market research company Pondering Panda in order to get a deeper understanding of corruption in schools. Over 3200 individuals aged between 13 and 34 were interviewed. This sample set is far more comprehensive than sample set used by global watchdog Transparency International.

Approximately 50% of those individuals interviewed were learners at schools and FET colleges and 31% were family members of learners. Most of the learners were from public schools with an equal balance of male and female respondents.

The main objective of the questions asked were to ascertain the perceptions of the level and types of corruption in schools, who were the perpetrators of school corruption, as well how they reported school corruption via existing channels.

 

Corruption at school is here to stay

The survey revealed that 53% of those interviewed believe that corruption in schools is getting worse and less that half of the respondents who are aware of corruption will report it. Only 42% reported incidents of corruption. Free State has the most non-reporters with 70%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (67%) and the Western Cape (64%).

The survey also revealed that there is an equal amount of corruption in both private and public school in South Africa. The vast majority of respondents are extremely concerned about corruption and view it as a major problem.

 

South Africa School Corruption

Apart from the 53% who viewed corruption as a growing problem, only 17% felt that was getting better, 13% believe that it was the same, and 18% did not know. The vast majority of respondents believe that Mpumalanga has the highest levels of corruption followed by Eastern Cape and North West.

Individuals who reported incidents of corruption did so to school principals or parents, or to a member of a school governing board (SGB), to an official anti-corruption institution such as the presidential hotline or the Education Department.

More people reported corruption to Corruption Watch rather than the presidential hotline. Those aged between 15-17 were more likely to report to Corruption Watch while 13-14 year olds were more likely to report incidents to their parents or teachers.

 

True victims of corruptions are learners

The most common form corruption was the misuse and misappropriation of school funds or school property followed by learners being ordered to do favors for improved grades. Nepotism in the appointments of staff and procurements practices is also a problem as well as the sale of exam papers. The most common form of around exam times were favors for better grades and the selling of exam papers.

Mpumalanga had the biggest problem when it came selling of exam papers, while misappropriation of school funds was more prevalent in Free State and North West provinces.

The vast majority of respondents believe that the mail culprits of corruption are school principals followed by teachers and then members of school governing boards. The Eastern Cape had the highest number of corrupt principals (61%). The Free State had the most corrupt teachers (41%). And Northern Cape had the most corrupt school governing bodies (33%).

Female learners claim that teachers are more responsible for corruption, while mailed believe that principals are more corrupt. Overall, the vast majority of respondents believe that principals are to blame for the misuse of school funds and property. Almost half believe that principals are responsible for nepotism in schools.

When it came to doing favors for better grades, the majority of respondents believe that teachers are to blame and almost half believe that teachers sells exam papers to learners.

 

How to combat corruption in our schools

Even though the vast majority of learners do not report incidents of corruption, they did however identify ways in which corruption may be combatted. The best way to combat corruption in schools was with regular anti-corruption meetings and anti-corruption groups. Social media was the second best suggestion to fight corruption via Mxit, Facebook and Twitter

 

How to report corruption

To allow for easy reporting of corruption in schools, Corruption Watch is piloting a 24-hour toll-free line. Members of the public who wish to report corruption in schools can call 0800 023 456.

Source: Corruption Watch

South Africa personal wealth and quality of life is declining

Legatum Global Prosperity Index 2013-1

 

South Africa slips 5 places to 77th most prosperous country in the world, hampered by poor health and education levels and a low sense of safety and security. Over the past 5 years, South Africa’s ranking has continued to decline. The majority of the lowest ranking countries in the Prosperity Index all come from the sub-Saharan Africa region.

The Legatum Institutes annual prosperity index ranks 142 countries across the globe in terms of income (GDP, economy, wealth) along with well-being (quality of life, governance, sentiment). The index utilizes thousands of datapoints from global data sources, tracking close to 90 variables as well as an average of over 1,500 interviews with people in each of the 142 countries covered.

Over the last five years, South Africa has dropped 33 places to 82nd in the Personal Freedom sub-index because of a decrease in civil choice. Fewer individuals in the country feel satisfied wiht their freedom of choice.  Due to an increasing perception of social support and volunteerism rates, South Africa has risen in the Social Capital sub-index to 65th position.

 

Legatum Global Prosperity Index 2013-2

The top performing countries in the index are Norway, with the strongest economy and highest level of social capital; followed by Switzerland in 2nd and Canada in 3rd.

The highest ranking country in the sub-Saharan Africa region is Botswana with a ranking of 72 followed by South Africa in 77th position. The highest ranked countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region fill out most of the middle and bottom reaches of the index, with plenty of countries slipping in the rankings.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and opportunity, South Africa performed well. This is the country’s highest rank when it comes to sub-indices. South Africa ranked 41st in entrepreneurship and opportunity and governance (53rd); however, education (91st), health (105th) and safety and security (106th) drag on the country’s rank.

The overwhelming majority of individuals that were interviewed (82%) believe that government corruption in the country are widespread and 73% do not feel safe in the country. South Africa has fallen.

Overall, Personal Freedom across the sub-Sahara regions has decreased significantly over the past 2 years. Countries such as South Africa , Ghana and Mali dropped out of the top 50 in the Safety & Security sub-index to 82nd, 79th, and 61st, respectively.  The main reason for the decline is due to the perceived freedom to choose the course of their lives in all 3 countries.

To view the 2013 Legatum Institutes annual prosperity index – CLICK HERE

Source: Legatum Institute