SA: KZN out to improve learner performance



Pretoria – The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is putting in place strategies to improve the overall performance of schools across the province, paying more attention to grade 12 learners.

The department held a consultative stakeholders’ meeting following the steep decline in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) results and Umalusi disapproving the release of grade 12 results from 39 centres in the province.

KZN had the steepest decline in the matric pass rate in 2014, with an overall pass rate of 69.7%. This is a decline from 77.4% in 2013, and a drop of 7.7 percentage points.

The department said it takes full responsibility for the 2014 outcomes and won’t make any excuses on the matter.

The strategies the department will now put in place were developed from the stakeholders’ meeting, which was attended by members of the Portfolio Committee for Education, School Governing Body (SGB) formations, teacher unions, academics and business people.

During the meeting, a broad analysis of performance for all schools was discussed and schools were categorised according to their consistent performance over the years.

The department said it will formulate programmes to assist schools that showed consistently poor performance. It will devise specific interventions to support learners in gateway subjects and to ensure that all learners succeed in home languages.

Focus on maths, teacher training

Among the interventions, the department committed to help schools improve results by focusing on mathematics; conducting extensive teacher training; integrating Information Communication Technology (ICT) teaching; providing detailed lesson plans and study guides, and providing learners with previous examination question papers of the Annual National Assessment (ANA) and National Senior Certificate (NSC).

The department also committed itself to conduct orientation workshops on the use of multi-grade teaching; training of principals and members of school management teams (SMT) on leadership and curriculum management; conducting extra tuition for learners on weekends and holidays; implementing  the Alumni Support Programme at all schools, and partnering with the private sector.

Head of Department (HoD) Nkosinathi Sishi said some of the measures are already in place to improve the results.

“At the beginning of the year, we are going to upload software in schools to assist them with curriculum content whether they access the internet or not,” said Sishi.

He said the department is going to introduce an alumni programme, which will involve former learners of the schools.

“A variety of social networks like WhatsApp, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, group emails and SMSes will be utilised to implement the alumni programme.  All department officials are also encouraged to be part of this programme.

“The department is going to give tuition support to all learners who are going to sit for the supplementary examination in 2015,” Sishi said.

Over 200 000 calculators and maths and science dictionaries will be supplied to schools to support learners.

The department said it has placed most surplus educators at schools and it will ensure that all recently qualified Fudza Lushaka beneficiaries are placed in schools by 21 January.

“The department has also attended to the appointment of school management officials, and the majority of them will assume duty when schools open on 21 January. Circuit management positions are also going to be filled by end of March,” the department said.