Sweeping intervention in education planned

Intensive and sustained intervention is necessary to improve the quality of education in the Bojanala district, in which Rustenburg is situated.

This conclusion is based on research done in July 2013.  It was undertaken by the National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education. The NECT* comprises trade unions, business, civil society and Government.

The research found that the performance of learners in Bojanala has been improving. The Senior certificate pass rate increased by 2% to 80% in 2012. Grade 3 and 6 language improved by 18% and 11% respectively. Mathematics increased by 11% in Grade 3 and 1% in Grade 6. At all levels there is an opportunity to improve quality of passes and the district appears to have the basics to benefit from the NECT support. Further investigations will be conducted by NECT with the district to refine the intervention strategies.

The research has also identified challenges in respect to programming the support and monitoring of school. The report recommends that new support programmes with achievable targets be developed; and district staff be assisted to implement the programme. Part of the support will require supplementing the number of district officials available to visit schools and better equip them in their support and monitoring role.  The goal is to transform Bojanala District into a high performing district within the next five years.

At a media briefing in Rustenburg today (16 October 2013) Godwin Khosa, NECT Secretariat Convenor pointed out that the stakeholders which included unions, traditional leaders and local business agreed to strengthen, among other things, the management of schools. They vouched to engage with all relevant stakeholders to fully reinstate classroom visits and to improve the accountability of school managers and teachers as part of the teacher professionalization agenda.

In the next two months, the NECT will work with the district to engage the necessary human capacity and resources to implement the agreed interventions.

A multi-stakeholder Steering Committee will be set up to oversee implementation of the intervention including making sure that all the critical success conditions are in place.

The NECT intervention occurs with the full collaboration of the Department of Basic Education and is part of the development process intended to improve educational outcomes, explained Mr Khosa.

The NECT report is specific in its proposals to turn education around by focussing on upgrading teachers’ subject and pedagogical knowledge, improving management systems,  improving the general school infrastructure and resourcing as well as finding ways of addressing the shortage of maths and science teachers.

In conclusion, Mr Khosa said, the aim of the intervention is to enable the Bojanala district to improve teaching quality and district office effectiveness in order to raise learner performance in a significant and sustainable way.

* The NECT was launched on 16 July 2013 and established on the basis of the Education Collaboration Framework (ECF) which presents a partnership initiative involving government and its social partners. It was conceived as a programme to implement the National Development Plan.

Bojanala is among the eight districts that make up the first cohort of the twenty districts prioritised by the ECF.

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