Dept fails to spell

2015-01-10 00:00

THE custodians of the English language in the province cannot spell.

Glossy education reports created by provincial government to showcase the state of education are themselves riddled with errors.

Labelled “sloppy and unprofessional”, the spelling and grammatical mistakes are found in three reports created by the KZN Department of Education (DoE) — namely the Annual National Assessment (ANA) 2014, the Programme of Action 2015/16 and the National Senior Certificate (NSC) 2014 report.

Brand specialists admitted that this would further damage the battling KZN DoE’s image, a department seeking credibility in a year where its annual pass rate dropped nearly eight percent to 69,7%.

The DA has scorned the department for not practising what it preaches.

Chief executive of Meropa Communications, a leading Gauteng-based branding and communications firm, Peter Mann said it would have been better if the department had not created a report at all.

“If you report on excellence and it is not excellent you look stupid. [What the KZN DoE has done] is worse than doing nothing. In whichever language you create a document you must make sure it is accurate,” said Mann.

He said to win back confidence, the department should apologise, withdraw the reports and redo them.

In the ANA report, which gives insight into the competency of school pupils, the title is spelt “Anual National Assesment” on the front page. There were also several spelling mistakes in the Programme for Action 2015/16 Report — the blue-print to improve the education system in the province — including the foreword by the MEC for Education, Peggy Nkonyeni.

In the NSC report the crane flower within the KZN Coat of Arms is largely missing, as is the eye of the lion, while the department’s vision slogan is also incorrect.

Durban-based designer Gareth Walker — who has been in the branding game for over 30 years and worked with the country’s biggest names — said: “It is sloppy and unprofessional and this is not because of a lack of resources, money or expertise. It appears no one is looking after the department’s interests.”

The high quality printed glossy reports were handed to the media on Tuesday when the 2014 matric results were released to the public.

The DA’s KZN education spokesperson, Mbali Ntuli, called it an “ironic juxtaposition”.

“The department’s credibility is shaky at best. If the department can’t get it right this leaves little confidence in our schools improving,” said Ntuli.

Weekend Witness spent two days attempting to seek comment from KZN DoE spokesperson Muzi Mahlambi, but at the time of going to press no query had been answered.


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