Most Grade 3 and 6 pupils can’t count and can’t understand what they were supposed to have been taught.
They scored a dismissal 28 percent in numeracy and literacy in a countrywide assessment test earlier this year. In Gauteng, nearly 70 percent of the province’s Grade 3 pupils can’t read or count.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga described the results as “very sad”.
“Provincial performance in these two areas (literacy and numeracy) is between 19 percent and 43 percent, the highest being the Western Cape and the lowest being Mpumalanga.”
The pathetic results confirmed earlier international surveys, in which South African Grade 3s and 6s were ranked very low and their performance was cited by educationists as a symptom of a dysfunctional education system.
Professor Sarah Gravett, the University of Johannesburg’s dean of education, explained that the language and literacy assessments not only show whether pupils read and identify words, but also if they understand what they’re reading.
The evidence is overwhelming that education is failing, the National Professional Teachers’ Association of SA (Naptosa) said.
“We have also been concerned that when samples of learners in Grade 3 and Grade 6 were involved in writing similar literacy and numeracy tests… some years ago, the results did not seem to be used to inform interventions that could possibly have made a difference,” it said.
The test now provided hard evidence on which to base decisions on “what must be done and where it needs to be done”, and it was now up to the department’s officials to take action.
“The same mistakes cannot be repeated over and over again,” Naptosa said.
Motshekga said the low levels of literacy and numeracy in primary schools were “worrying precisely because the critical skills of literacy and numeracy are fundamental to further education and achievement in the worlds of both education and work.”
“Many of our learners lack proper foundations in (these subjects) and so they struggle to progress in the system and into post-schooling education and training,” she said.
Motshekga decided to conduct the tests after it was pointed out that the poor matric results reflected poor performance at lower grades.
The tests, which looked at the pupils’ ability to write, read and count, were written in February this year by over 9 million pupils from public schools in all nine provinces.
The assessments were not used to grade the pupils, but to give the department and the education sector as a whole insight into whether the pupils know what they were meant to have studied in their previous grades.
According to the report, Grade 6 results for language – based on a sample of results from selected schools – show that as few as 15 percent of pupils scored more than 50 percent.
Among Grade 3 pupils, only 17 percent scored more than 50 percent in their numeracy assessment, and 31 percent scored more than 50 percent in the literacy test. Anything below 35 percent meant “not achieved”.
Basic Education Director-General Bobby Soobrayan explained that the results will be used as “a diagnostic tool” for the country’s 25 000 public schools. He
said the assessments focused on basic key foundation skills of literacy and numeracy that were “universally recognised to be key determinants of overall learner performance.”
Kathy Callaghan, secretary of the Governors’ Alliance, which represents more than 300 Gauteng schools, said that while this was bad news, the positive was that it was now out there.
“We can build from there,” she said.
Salim Vally, an education analyst, said it was a catastrophe and that it “shows that South Africa is at the bottom of the pile”.
He emphasised that the critical year for children when it came to cognitive development was in Grade R. He said much needed to be done to improve the working conditions of Grade R teachers and getting access to all children. “Only a fraction of our kids in South Africa go to pre-primary schools, and that’s a shame. This is the time of critical intervention.” – The Star
I grew up in Belgium. Belgium being a country with three languages (French, Flemish and German), we had to learn two of the official languages the first 5 years at School. At home the whole family conversed in "Patois". I´ve never been to Kindergarten or Pre-School. Today I speak French, English, German perfect. That´s all the languages you need to get by in the whole world. My Flemish is not perfect, but I can easily have a conversation with anyone; the same for Afrikaans. It is most important that all children will learn English first, and after that any other language they fancy; be it Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, etc. Many African Languages can only be used by small groups of the population and is restricted to use in other parts of Africa. I am sure that with the current state of affairs in SA, the very weak ANC Government, corrupt Officials, ANCYL Malema bashing everything he does not understand because he has NO Education, that this reflects the apathy both with parents and children not looking for a better future. But this is exactly what the ANC wants; people with no Education will just do what their told and follow the person who promises most.
Ursula Elaine, wrote
When will the powers that be do something about overcrowded classes from gr R to Gr 12. We have a shortage of teachers posts , yet thousands of qualified teachers are still unemployed. To politicians ,Ministers of Education and the rest, build more schools, employ more Educators and stop overcompensation and overpayment of top officials.Our Education crisis is fueled by greed of fatcat overpaid officials to the detriment of our children.
APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE TO THE SYSTEM!!! FINALY A BREAK THROUGH THAT SOMETHING IS NOT WORKING WITH THE CURRICULUM. POOR KIDS WORKING THEIR BUTS OFF NO WONDER THEY DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ALL 1000 THINGSPROJECTSTASK RESEARCH OF COURSE THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME AREAS THAT LACK!!!!! MAYBE SABC SHOULD ALSO BE PLAYING SOME USEFULL PROGRAMMES NOT REPEATING THE SAME OLD CRAP MONTHS AFTER MONTHS. IF THIS IS NOT CLEAR TO THE LEADERS THEN PERHAPS A GRADE R SHOULD SCHETCH A COULOURFUL PICTURE AND HOPEFULY SOME THINGS WILL GET BETTER.
"They scored a dismissal 28 percent"...this was meant to be dismal. Please don't over-rely on the Wordprocessor's spell check. this is a 'glaring' mistake given what the article is touching on.
i is 13 old and cant psell vary nicly no problmes tnak yo0u
john jones, wrote
In the early seventies one day I had not done my Std 9 Maths homework having told my parents that it was done. So I snuck into the maids room an hour before leaving home the next day. The maids husband , a police sargeant , was with her and he helped me with the last few difficult questions. My answers were the only all correct answers that day. The one and only time it ever happened to me. 'Bantu Education' was superior to ANC 'edjumakashun'.By a country mile.
@Seriously .... common already - this race card is so BORING !!! I work for an Afrikaans company but we have to do all of our correspondence, meetings, forums etc in English. Go overseas (a place you obviously haven't been yet) and you'll see it's spoken in every country sweet one - this is not a South African "white" thing !!! You are really SILLY !!! Alternatively seriously uneducated !!
Remember the slogan during the 80s LIBERATION BEFORE EDUCATION. They sowed the wind and now all of us are reaping the whirlwind
So in a population of +- 50 million, we have 9 million in grade 3 and 6? 18% of our population is aged either 9 or 12? These results are sad, and don't bode well for our future
Many kids only have one parent at home, and some have none. We support a kid whose mother died and now his grandmother has died. When he is not at school, he is begging or working. When he makes some cash, he is robbed of it in the township. Parents also often work (and travel) from before dawn to after dark. They are often uneducated and are unable to help their kids with schoolwork.
@I'm no teacher Haha, I must also be smoking something. Read it so quickly I read it as "Dismal". Only noticed it when you pointed it out. Maybe I am so use to seeing this shit in all the shit letters that I receive, that I automatically self correct the mistakes without even thinking about it.
So Grade 4 and 5 is fine? Then after that they forget how to read and write ;)
We have the same curriculum for all the provinces, Gauteng is not much different economically from the WCape and yet their results are poor, it just shows who is in control or not.....
considering that english is used as the international business language, shouldn't that be taught as a first language in schools? or don't the people of africa want to become a world business powerhouse? whats this flip ohhhh its the old racist white card again.......wow its looking very old and frayed, i wonder if its ever going to be discarded flip white racist ..... nope, i guess not......
@brandon 1118 wrote, wrote
Hi Brandon I applaude you my brother. You come around as a very intelligence man. You are English and sent your kids to an Afrikaans school.Yet you do not criticise the system but give contrast advice like parents getting involved in education. I wish I knew you. God bless your comments. Just to add the problem is the parents who are leaving everything to the system, it is like sending a child to rehab and waiting for the report ( good report) without involving your self in the kids's progremm.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga described the results as “very sad”.... I can think of a few better adjective to describe it and the fact that she doesnt GET that it is actually HER responsibility. I have NO WORDS.
It is not just the Education department that is to blame. If a child don't see their fathers or not even know a loving parent it will struggle with many things.You cannot just bring children into life and not put time and effort into raising them as parents. If we want our children to be successful in an ever changing modern world a new approach is needed that should hold Parents,teachers and the community accountable for the up bringing and protection of children.
Close the doors, pack away the toys, switch off the lights. Good night South Africa, good night.
I say government should stop introducing new things, i.e policies and programmes IMMEDIATELY!!!! and conduct a stocktake as well as a post moterm of what worked and what failed. Government should also put experts in all the fields and not just fill in the ministry since comrade x don't have a position. its very anoying to see our government wating our money on lawsuits and failing projects simply because a medical doctor was put in charge of the Department of home affairs, and an uneducated parasite wa put in charge of the well being of all south african young people. Also maybe government should look into what our children are exposed to on tvs, and probably use tv as an complementary educating tool. (I'm not talking about those cartoona that play when kids are at school anyway). also, as much as we can blame the system, we as parents should make an effort to assist our children where there are gaps, like take them for weekend educational programmes, assist them in stress relief instead of whining that we pay a fortune on school fees.
@Seriously. Don't get on your high horse. I am actually Afrikaans but did all my exams in English at an English school as lets face it, and please leave colour out of the equation, English is a recognised language in most parts of the world. Can you imagine me going to London and yapping away in Afrikaans, I think not. Teaching our kids English will not only benefit them in this country but also others. You name one company that will employ a person that can only speak and African language or Afrikaans. So please, do not come and tell me I am one of those people that do not want to see our nation grow. You know stuff all about me!!!!