South Africa – Teachers to write pupils’ exam

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MATHEMATICS teachers would be required to write the annual national assessments on mathematics that grade 3, 6 and 9 pupils write every year, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said at the weekend.

But she said the testing of the teachers would be implemented after proper consultation with the relevant role-players, and the participating teachers would be anonymous.

The results would be used only for research purposes, meaning teachers who failed the tests were likely to continue teaching the subjects, she said.

Calls have been growing for teachers to be tested in the subjects they teach as this is seen as vital to improving education outcomes.

Southern and East African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality studies have shown that teachers could not answer questions taken from tests that their learners were expected to answer.

Only 38% of grade 6 mathematics teachers tested could answer grade 6 questions correctly.

A report by the maths, science and technology ministerial task team found that SA had a “serious lack of qualified, skilled and experienced mathematics, science and technology teachers”.

Responding to a question from Democratic Alliance (DA) MP and basic education spokeswoman Annette Lovemore, Ms Motshekga said the testing of teachers was in the “Action Plan to 2014 Towards the Realisation of Schooling 2025”.

Ms Lovemore said the DA did not believe there was any need for consultation with any relevant role-player other than the employers of the teachers — the provincial departments of education.

“I will therefore raise further questions to the minister to determine her understanding of relevant role-players. We assume she means Sadtu (the South African Democratic Teachers Union),” Ms Lovemore said.

She said it was “not acceptable” that the results of the tests be used for research purposes only.

“We cannot just research the lack of competency of our teachers. Every teacher must write the annual national assessments test for the grade he or she is teaching, and preferably for a few grades higher as well, regardless of union views on the matter.

“Every teacher who cannot achieve at least 80% in the relevant test must be directed towards effective development, and re-tested after that development intervention,” Ms Lovemore said.

Sadtu spokeswoman Nomusa Cembi said the union did not necessarily oppose the testing of teachers. “We are pro-teacher development, but what we are saying is that such matters have to be discussed thoroughly at the Education Labour Relations Council before being implemented,” she said. Source: BD Live

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