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.
“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.