Grade Nine a ‘weak link’, says minister

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Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Pretoria - Grade Nine is the weak link in the education system, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Thursday.

Grade Nine showed no movement from the 43 percent scored in language last year, with a drop of two percent for the first additional language, she said in Pretoria.

“In mathematics, the national average is 14 percent, compared to 13 percent in 2012.”

Motshekga was speaking at the release of the annual national assessment (ANA) results for 2013.

According to the ANA, the national average performance for literacy in Grade One improved by two percent to 60 percent, but the numeracy level dropped by eight percent to 60 percent.

The Grade Two average performance was up two percent to 57

percent as was the numeracy level, at 59 percent.

Grade Three literacy was down by one percent at 51 percent, but numeracy was up by 12 percent to 53 percent. The Grade Four numeracy level was unchanged at 37 percent.

In Grade Five, numeracy increased by three percent to 33

percent, home language by six percent to 46 percent, first additional language by seven percent to 37 percent, and numeracy by three percent to 33 percent.

The biggest improvement was shown in Grade Six, where the home language level was up 16 percent to 59 percent, first additional language 10 percent to 46 percent, and mathematics 12 percent to 39 percent.

Motshekga said the process was influencing and driving improvements in performance.

The National Teachers' Union welcomed the results, but expressed disappointment that not all individual marks were considered.

Deputy president Allen Thompson said this was because some provincial departments of education had failed to submit marks on time.

“This shows that the provincial education department might not be considering the ANA assessment as seriously as all of us do.”

He called on the department to take the ANA seriously and to grant it the same status as the matric examination.

This was the only available instrument to determine the failure or success of the education system.

“This will alleviate the unnecessary surprises during the final year of the schooling of learners,” he said.

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