ANAs pointless unless used for change: Jansen

2015-09-22 16:42
Jonathan Jansen (Emile Hendricks, Volksblad)

Jonathan Jansen (Emile Hendricks, Volksblad)

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Johannesburg - Educational assessments are pointless unless the results are used for interventions, Professor Jonathan Jansen said on Tuesday amid a row over the Annual National Assessments (ANAs).

Overemphasising performance and assessments leads to scams and at times only confirm poor performance, said Jansen.

''Why must you confirm your misery?'' asked the University of the Free State vice chancellor at an education dialogue hosted by Investec in Sandton.

Government and teachers should rather use the information to make improvements.

''What must I do with this data to get out of the hole? That is where the department [of education] is failing to act,'' he said.

Jansen said provinces must have the courage to dump bad teachers if they want to see improvements and find ways of getting parents more actively involved in their children's education.

The audience heard anecdotes relating to a programme called ProMaths in the Free State, sponsored by Investec, which provides extra maths classes for schoolchildren.

‘Nothing wrong with the kids in SA’

The Free State's education department matches what the investment company spends on the programme. Jansen implored people to think of ways they could run similar programmes in their own communities.

Jansen said unions - such as the SA Democratic Teachers' Union - which feel overburdened by constant assessment work, play an important part in education and democracy.

''But when those same people disrupt the education of poor children, that's where I draw the line.''

Jansen said the way to improve children's performance was to have high expectations of them, to have great teachers and great books.

''There is nothing wrong with the kids in South Africa,'' he said.

The unions and the national education department are at loggerheads over the ANAs.

The unions earlier distanced themselves from the department's announcement on September 11 that the ANAs would be postponed to February 2016, saying the parties had never agreed to set a date.

The department has subsequently said the ANAs will now be written from December 1 to 4 - a move teacher unions have opposed.

Read more on:    ufs  |  jonathan jansen  |  education

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