Basic Education to meet with unions over annual assessments
The department announced the postponement of standardised tests, which were due to be written next week.
JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department says its officials will meet with unions and teachers over the next 90 days to hear proposals for future Annual National Assessments (ANA).
On Friday, the department announced that it is postponing the standardised tests, which were due to be written next week.
It has tasked a team of department officials and teachers unions to reassess and re-model the assessments to be re-launched next year.
The department says a postponement of the ANA will create stability in schools and provide a chance to identify and address weaknesses in testing.
Director Matanzima Mweli says the team will start hearing proposals on re-modelling the standardised test as soon as possible.
"As a system, we're on track to moving curriculum and assessment innovations so that they're in keeping with the demands of the 21 century."
The department says while a task team will be established to reassess and re-model the ANA, they are still a cornerstone programme to the education system.
The ANA's are written by pupils in three phases until grade nine to evaluate progress in the curriculum.
But South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and National Professional Teacher's Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) have raised concerns about the frequency of the testing and the demands of administration.
Mweli says the task team will use this time to identify and address weaknesses in testing.
"There's general agreement that the Annual National Assessment is a cornerstone of the Basic Education system that will continue to serve as a diagnostic and systemic evaluation tool."
Sadtu and Naptosa have welcomed the decision to postpone.
Sadtu president Magope Maphila says the unions are calling for yearly assessments to rather be held every three years.
"We're agreeing that there must be national assessments, but what we reject it's annual."
The department says schools will be informed of the next step to take ahead of the postponement.
Mweli says schools will be informed by management on the next steps to take.
"We have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to postpone the administration of ANA, and then sort out some of the things that unions are not happy about."
The standardised testing form, written and marked by the department, takes place in three phases and is a systematic evaluation of a child's progress in the curriculum.
"There is general agreement that the ANA is a cornerstone of the basic education system that will continue to serve as a diagnostic and systemic evaluation tool."
Mweli says teacher unions have raised several concerns.
"I can only be positive that we will be able to resolve issues and make sure that quality education happens."
He says the task team of department officials and unions will now hear proposals for a full remodelling.