5 December 2008
In bid to ensure that the average learner obtains a 50% mark for mathematics and literacy by 2011, the Department of Education is taking steps to ensure that classrooms are adequately resourced and that teachers teach effectively and assess learner performance regularly.
The efforts form part of the Foundation for Learning campaign, launched by Education Minister Naledi Pandor in March this year, which focuses on offering quality teaching and learning from grade one through grade six.
“Each school must ensure that every teacher has at least the basic minimum resources in the classroom as listed in the government gazette of 14 March 2008, [and] schools will put the core task of teaching at the centre stage, and all teachers are expected to be in their classes teaching planned lessons during contact time,” Education department director-general Duncan Hindle said in Pretoria this week.
National Curriculum Statement
This year was the first time that all grade 12 learners in public schools wrote the same examinations, which are set on the new curriculum known as the National Curriculum Statement (NSC).
With the NSC, there are no longer higher grades and standard grades; only one grade of examination paper is set, and all learners must choose either mathematics or mathematical literacy. All learners also have to take Life Orientation, which is assessed internally.
Hindle said 593 000 learners sat for this year’s exams, 28 225 more than 2007, with a number of them opting for the toughest subjects.
The marking is scheduled to be complete by 11 December 2008, individual results will be released to all schools on the 29 December and Education Minister Naledi Pandor will officially release them on 30 December.
Safety in schools
Hindle said during 2009, the department would focus on monitoring the implementation and impact of the various school safety interventions, and provide support to teachers to facilitate effective discipline and behaviour management in the classroom.
“The department reported that several interventions, which have been put in place to address the incidence of crime and violence at schools impacted positively on the incidence of crime, violence and vandalism in schools with some schools reporting change behaviour among the learners intervention,” he said.
The interventions included CCTV systems to monitor access and behaviour, the Hlayiseka programme to assist with the management of school safety, exploring humanitarian law to develop social awareness and civic responsibility, youth camps to instil positive values, example of a code of conduct to support extra curricular activities, while at the same time addressing life skills.
“The interventions also include sport for development to create sustainable extra curricular activities, while at the same time addressing life skills and legislation for drug testing to enable schools to test learners where reasonable suspicion exists,” the department said.