Article: Education failing, teachers say

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Pretoria – The evidence is overwhelming that education is failing, the National Professional Teachers’ Association of SA (Naptosa) said on Tuesday.

In a statement welcoming the release of the basic education department’s Annual National Assessment (ANA), the association said it had been expressing concern for several years about the poor performance of pupils in respect of literacy and numeracy.

Earlier on Tuesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga released the delayed ANA results.

Among other things, they show there are very low levels of literacy and numeracy among so-called foundation phase (grades one to three) and intermediate phase (grades four to six) pupils attending government schools around the country.

Naptosa said studies in the past had revealed there was a problem with literacy and numeracy among young pupils.

“The evidence is overwhelming that the education system is failing and Naptosa has, for several years, expressed concern about the poor performance of learners in respect of literacy and numeracy.

“We have also been concerned that when samples of learners in Grade Three and [Grade] Six 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 ANA 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.