14 September 2015
The Democratic Alliance has questioned the decision to postpone the writing of the annual national assessments [ANA] tests at government schools.
“Who is currently in charge of our country’s education system?” said DA MP Annette Lovemore in a statement.
In a last-minute move, the Department of Basic of Education (DBE) on Friday announced that the 2015 ANAs,which test numeracy and literacy, which was scheduled to start on Tuesday and be written by 8.6 million pupils, has been postponed until February next year.
The decision came after the department engaged with unions, including the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu), who had spoken out against the assessments.
“It is completely unacceptable that Sadtu is allowed to get away with compromising the education of our children and therefore their future opportunities for a better life,” said Lovemore, labelling the education department’s move to postpone the tests as having “caved” to the unions.
“The importance of the ANAs must be recognised. Our education system is mired in crisis, with only half of our children able to read properly by the end of Grade 3, and only 3% of our children being appropriately numerate by the end of Grade 9.
“It is essential that we test literacy and numeracy every single year and that interventions are aggressively implemented, informed by the results of the tests.”
Earlier this week, DBE national spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga said the postponement was “in the best interest of schooling stability and will also assist in improving the quality and the thrust of the national assessment programme.”